Isaiah the Prophet’s Perspective. Jerusalem . 700 BC
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Micah the Prophet’s Perspective . Moresheth, Judah . 700 BC
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.” Micah 5:2
Joseph’s Perspective . Nazareth, Israel . January 3 BC
“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’” Matthew 1:20-21
Shepherds Perspective . Near Bethlehem, Judah . September 3 BC
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
“The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”
Mary’s Perspective . Bethlehem, Judah . September 3 BC
“And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
Simon’s Perspective . Jerusalem, Israel . September 3 BC
“And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:34-35
Magi Perspective . Jerusalem . December 2 BC
“Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him…
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy…
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2: 2,10-11
We often hear the phrase, “from Genesis to Revelation” to express the broad sweep of men’s experience on earth and God’s plan for the same.
In Genesis we read:
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Genesis 49:10
In revelation we read:
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; … And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a scepter of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.” Revelation 12:1-5
This story seems to swirl about a King, righteous and true. And his subjects, who have loved his appearing.
I was inspired to write a poem a few years ago at Christmastime that I read every year reflecting on this King and his story, in worship. It is titled, “Twice a King.”
While worshiping again this year with wide eyes and an open heart, watching “The Star of Bethlehem,” I saw something completely new, like I many times do.
The two scepters in Genesis and Revelation are really one, and belong to the same King. His story is written in the Bible, on countless hearts, and in the stars.
The King of the universe, visits a virgin, who has His Son. His Son becomes the ruling, loving, righteous, rightful, and everlasting King of all mankind. There is lots of romance involved, and an evil opponent, as His beautiful story plays out upon the earth over time. It’s a story that fills the pages of our literature, our history, our very lives. And, it and it is written in the stars.
It’s the same story known to the magi, perhaps through the prophet Daniel, and to the prophet John, who recorded it in the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ.
I hope you can take time to watch Rick Larson explain it in detail this Christmas season. You will experience awe, the wonder and joy of Christmas, and a blessing.
The King of heaven symbolized by Regulus the King star, moves toward earth symbolized by Jupiter the king planet, to a conjunction with Venus the queen planet and through the constellation Virgo, the virgin, to give birth to a redeemer prince, a Son, the King of heaven and earth, the everlasting One.
Ponder the majesty and magnitude of one who would write the story on earth and in the heavens, for all to see, for all time.
Bethlehem and the Cross
This “celestial poem” as Larson calls it, is one of “terrible beauty” that gives one pause, and makes one shutter.
I pray He who wrote it in history, and in the stars, will write it on your heart this year if He hasn’t already done so. That’s my Christmas prayer.
Bethlehem and the cross were both necessary to the story and are shown by a clockwork star — from the moment God flung the universe into existence. He knew what he was going to do and marked it in the clockwork, faithful heavens for all who have eyes to see.
Hidden from most, but real, and present.
I pray the beautiful music, artistry, storytelling, and cinematography, of this video will help you see the mystery and truth of this story.
This is my time. This is your time. These are our times.
We know so much. Yet we know so little.
Humble yourself. Look at the stars, especially the Star of Bethlehem.
Then say with the ancient wisemen,
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2
“And I will grant wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below, … Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:19-22
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:2,6
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
“He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace.” Micah 5:2,4-5
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” Matthew 1:23
The winter solstice just passed a few days ago, December 21, the shortest day of the year. On that day there also appeared in the sky a planetary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. There was a lot of hubbub about it because it’s so rare, occurring about once every 800 years. There were lots of articles in newspapers, magazines, and the visual media hailing it as the Star of Bethlehem.
I personally don’t believe it was the star of Bethlehem. Rather the Bethlehem star was a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus which appeared in December, 2 BC, over Jerusalem as viewed from the East, modern day Iraq or Iran, ancient Persia, making it the brightest star anyone alive had ever seen.
There is something in the human psyche that both loves and loathes mystery. We want to know all we can, and yet we are attracted to the unknown. We like to puzzle things out for ourselves and we like to learn from what others have puzzled out.
Signs in the Sky and Wise Men from the East
I think that Rick Larson got it right in his 2015 DVD titled “The Star of Bethlehem.” He is an attorney, and after reading the biblical account in Matthew chapter 2 came up with nine clues about the star as evidence to what it might have been. That’s what lawyers do. Then he purchased some astronomy software that allows one to view the actual sky and stars on any given date and time from any point on earth. What he discovered is what makes this presentation so riveting.
He contends that in September, 3 BC the king planet Jupiter made three close passes or conjunctions with the king star Regulus, in the constellation of Leo the lion. Many theorize along with Larson that this rare astronomical event, or sign in the sky, may have been anticipated and handed down to the magi from the chief of the magi, Daniel the Hebrew prophet, when he served the kings of Babylon and Persia who in their time ruled the whole known world.
And that the magi made preparation at that time, then followed the king planet Jupiter nine months later as it arrived at it’s conjunction with Venus, and that would lead them to the location of the most famous King who would ever be born, the King of the Jews.
On December 25, 2 BC, the star (Jupiter) was over Bethlehem, 5 miles south as viewed from Jerusalem, and appeared stopped (in retrograde.)
The magi followed it, along with new information from the Hebrew Scriptures provided by Herod’s scribes that Bethlehem was the place of the Messiah’s birth. They went to worship the King, who was a toddler by that time, then returned secretly to their home country, with great joy!
The conjunction a few days ago was unusual because of its rarity, but it wasn’t that bright, and even with the naked eye one could see a little space between the two planets.
What did the wisemen see in the stars that sent them on their journey? It appears that it was the king planet coming very close to the king star, three times in rapid succession, in the constellation of the lion. The lion is the animal representation of the tribe of Judah in Israel. A prophecy that Daniel and the Magi would have known is that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. (Genisis 49:10) And following that, Jupiter coming in conjunction with Venus, stacked to make them appear as one, very-bright star.
I wonder what the sky looked like to them when they started their 700 mile trek, full of anticipation, awe, and intrigue?
“After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” Matthew 2:9-10
To watch the best YouTube video of “The Star of Bethlehem” click here, and the information for ordering the DVD with better resolution and bonus material is listed below it. Enjoy!
I was awakened yesterday morning with some thoughts about our times and the state of the republic. I think we can barely call it a union at the moment.
The overarching reality and truth for those who know God and His grace by faith is that they will be fine, and fare well under any political system or government.
God rules over the nations. They are but a drop in the bucket to Him. Psalm Two states that fundamental and foundational truth, supported by many, many other Scriptures that tell us the same thing.
“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.’ The One enthroned in heaven laughs;” Psalm 2:1-4a
“Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.” Isaiah 40:15
Jesus said as much while being purposely specific and purposefully ambiguous in the “woe to you” passages of Matthew chapter eleven. He addresses the cities of Sodom, Sidon, Capernaum, and others for their unbelief and bad behavior when they should have known better.
God has righteously judged these people and their rulers in their times, and for all times. Righteousness and justice are the foundations of his throne. That is Who He is. That is what He does.
“Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.” Pssalm 97:2
Black Lives Matter is a pale, secular-humanist, misguided effort to take these justice matters into human hands where hearts are bitter with self entitlement (pride) and/or unforgiveness. They evidently feel that there is no God, thus they must right these wrongs themselves. For those who ascribe to it, it is destructive, even self-destructive, accomplishing little and festering much anger that will reap a bitter end. Those who climb high on this ladder will do so only to find it leaning against the wrong wall. But I digress.
“I said to myself, ‘God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.’” Eccl 3:17
“‘Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19
The twelve minor prophets as well as the whole of Scripture tell us and show us that it’s possible and desirable for believers to live a quiet and peaceful life and work with their hands, no matter the government of the times being good or bad, honest or evil, God-fearing or God-ignoring.
“Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name.” Malachi 3:16
Note Ruth and Boaz toward the end of the dark, Judges period in Israel’s history. Note Jesus coming during the dark times of Rome and Israel. Note Paul the apostle of Jesus Christ, along with Peter and their fellows, birthing and establishing the church of Christ and furthering the kingdom of God during those same dark times. Followers of The Way flourished and grew and spread the news of life in Christ from Asia to Europe, from where it would go around the globe. These disciples and friends of Jesus lived quiet and peaceful lives, with faith, hope, and love — righteousness, peace, and joy in the midst of whatever government or epoch they found themselves. Often with suffering and persecution, as foretold and experienced by the Apostles and fathers of the faith, but they would enjoy each other and supernatural help in times of trouble from the Spirit of God himself, and get to know Him better as the merciful, gracious, loving, all-powerful One He is.
Psalm 37 and Psalm 73 perhaps describe the practical aspects of these relationships best — the sacred and the secular. The secular humanist are usually seeking power and control, fueled by greed. Those seeking the Sacred would come to know the power, the touch, the beauty of the Holy One helping them along. And actually lowering Himself, humbling Himself to tabernacle with them, to even dwell within them — indeed God comes near.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:25
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col 1:27
As for their times and whatever blessings or struggles they would face, they trusted God, His Word, and His indwelling Presence. As Paul by the Spirit told the stoic philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens, those words recorded in Scriptures for believers of all ages, “God chooses where men will live and their times.”
“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,” (Acts 17:26-27)
Who do we admire 2000 years after the times of the Caesars and the Apostles? The simple witness of history is that today people name their sons Paul, and their dogs Nero.
From Over Arching Truth to January 6, 2021
January 6, 2021 could either become one of the most momentous dates in American history, or slip by unnoticed like a small but malignant cancer.
Let me explain. Some trusted friends a few days ago made me aware that President Trump could still legally be the 46th President of the United States. A very simple summary of how that might happen follows.
The founding fathers who with Gods help gave us the constitution of the United States, the electoral college, and the best, most free, republic in history; also wrote a little known and seldom used provision for the presidential election in the event the vote has questionable validity.
On January 6, vice president Pence acting as president of the Senate will assemble both houses of Congress to officially present them the voting results from the electoral college. Typically and historically they have been accepted and the next president officially declared.
The main stream media, as you are no doubt aware, has already declared the next president to the masses. Boldly and loudly they have said there is little or no evidence of fraud in the election that would have altered the outcome.
While it’s true the courts have been reluctant to hear the evidence and by and large have refused to do so on jurisdiction or technical grounds, not wanting to touch it with a ten-foot pole, at least one judge has and ordered forensic computer folks to investigate, even publishing their findings of fraud and possible manipulation on a sophisticated and widespread scale. So while evidence of this possibility or actuality has been collected, it has not been widely reported or heard.
That is, until Wednesday, December 16, when the Senate had a hearing to examine the evidence themselves.
On to January 6, 2021. If the evidence is substantial that cyber skulduggery and other forms of improper or unethical voting in the swing states is presented, one member of each house of Congress can motion in writing that those states make the electoral vote invalid, not reflecting the will and actual vote of the people.
In this event both houses are ordered to their separate chambers to examine the evidence and debate the issue for two hours. When they reconvene, then Congress votes to elect the next president.
Only this vote is by state. Each state gets one vote, and there are more republican states than democratic states.
Can you imagine the chaos and confusion this could cause?
IF the evidence is there? IF the congressmen have the fortitude to do right according to the evidence? Those are two very big IFs!
What it could show is at the vote was stolen from the American people and from President Trump.
What the populace would probably believe is that by political maneuvering the vote was stolen from the American people and from President elect Biden. After all, his victory has been confirmed by the media!
So could there be protests, property destruction, loss of life, and violence in the streets? Of course there could be and almost certainly would be to some extent, given our recent history, albeit probably not on the level people fear.
And it begs the question, the age old question, which is more important truth or peace? Acting on fear or with courage? Being on the side of what’s right or what’s expedient?
If you fear God more than man, you choose what’s right. Because historically if you don’t, He will, and after some time passes the ramifications will be much worse and harder to bear.
What will happen? Ready or not?
One side of me thinks the probability of this scenario playing out, even if it be true and the evidence clearly shown, is slim. Why? Because of fear. Our people are increasingly afraid. They typically have shown themselves to prefer “peace and safety,” “in our time,” and “come what may” to standing up for what’s true and right with courage and conviction as an antidote to future tyranny and slavery.
Also the leaders, some of them anyway, prefer the riches that come by being allied in someway with the deep state or bureaucratic swamp, to what is right or best for the people, even what the law says. That is quite different from our Founding Fathers, men like Benjamin Franklin saying, “We must hang together or we most certainly will hang separately.” And saying, “[We’ve given you] a republic if you can keep it.” Men who risked it all to establish our country, and indeed many of them sacrificed it all.
Haman’s Gallows — Purim in the USA?
The other side of me, the spiritual side, says, “This would be a miracle, but this could happen!”
Remember the story of Esther? Haman, a high-ranking official who appeared on his way to being Prime Minister of Persia, the nation ruling the whole world at the time, had an evil heart. He had hatched an evil scheme to murder all the Jews in Persia. His plot was in place. Dates were set. Actions laid out for the plan. It appeared it couldn’t be stopped. He had even deceived the king of Persia about these people he hated because of jealousy and the fact they wouldn’t bow to him, and the king had approved his plan. You can read this story for yourself in Esther chapter five and there about.
But when the truth and the evil came to light, the king issued another decree because the laws of the Medes and Persians issued by the king couldn’t be altered. This turned out to be even better in its results, as the evil people and enemies of the truth were exposed and eradicated.
This caused the kingdom, the king, and the people much joy as good rulers and good rule could continue going forward.
So What to Do?
We wait. We pray. We act as the Spirit leads. But we mainly watch for Him to act, and pray for His mercy and His justice to prevail.
I know personally, I want to get back to the reason for the season. To meditation, contemplation, and worship of Jesus Christ, the ruler of all of history and all eternity. Come what may in our circumstances, the government ultimately rests upon His shoulders, and of the increase of His kingdom there will be no end.
Christmas peace and blessings to you all in His magnificent Name! Amen.
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”
Ron, a longtime friend unloaded a bombshell Tuesday morning when our 2020 reading group met. Sitting in the very chair where I’m sitting right now he read to us what could happen January 6, regarding who will be the 46th President of the United States.
Since I don’t watch the news, this was intriguing to me and continues to be as I’ve spent some time researching the matter.
Who knew? The founding fathers had this provision framed into our laws. On January 6, Vice President Pence, a man of character and Christian conviction, will preside over a joint session of Congress to open, present, and have them approve the outcome of the duly elected and appointed electoral college.
In years past this has been a formality, with a few notable exceptions like the Kennedy election of 1960 where there were concerns in Congress about fraud in the Chicago voting.
But this time, contrary to the narrative being projected by the media, if there should be enough evidence of fraud in the voting in key states, evidence which the Republicans say they have, one member of the House and one member of the Senate can motion in writitng that the vote is in question and not valid.
In this event, the vice president overseeing these proceedings as the president of the Senate would instruct both houses of Congress to separate and debate the matter for two hours, then reconvene and decide the matter by vote.
Each state would have only one vote, no matter how densely populated. There are more republican states than democratic states, so if every Republican state represented sees the fraud evidence sufficient and has the courage to vote that way, Donald Trump would likely remain the president of the United States of America.
Shocking! Can you imagine the shock? Of the majority of the population! Who have been told over and over that it’s over and Mr. Biden has won.
I remember two recent presidential elections where the media practically declared the outcome of the election in the weeks and days before — but it went unexplainably the other way? I digress.
So could there be political unrest? Maybe rioting in the streets? I’m sure there might be.
I would suggest that is not the biggest issue, although for many it is. Peace and safety at all cost, is the mantra or guiding position of many. The trouble is, it doesn’t work that way with evil in the world, and evil continues to plague mankind.
Evil is very much like cancer. You want to cut it out early to stop the spread and preserve the life of the whole! Do you not?
Or do you consider surgery too invasive? And the temporary pain and inconvenience too much of a sacrifice, and go on your way, letting it grow and spread? Thinking, “It will probably be all right.”
It’s exactly the same with evil. This is the best analogy I know. If free-will people do not stand up for truth and against evil, then more evil will come more powerfully to their door.
“You can pay me now, or pay me later.” We’ve all heard this about preventive maintenance and facing the truth or reality of a situation. We also know the price of “later” usually is much, much “greater.”
Ask the German people in Hitler and Bonhoeffer’s time. As the Russian people in Stalin and Solzhenitsyn’s time. Ask Israel in pre-Babylon and Isaiah’s time?
Dr. Ben Carson said it well when he was on the campaign trail for president, as he ended many of his speeches. “America will continue to be the land of the free, as long as she is the home of the brave.”
Let us not be like the British before World War II. Churchill was seeing things clearly and pointing out to the people Hitler’s true nature and plans. British Prime Minister Chamberlain at that time went to meet with Hitler and came back with his personal reality saying, “Peace, peace in our time.”
Of course people wanted to hear that. We all do. But the reality of what was about to happen was much different. The people were deluded by themselves and their leader to their own hurt. Many bombs would subsequently fall on London, many buildings would be burned or blown up. Many, many lives would be lost. The world would be plunged into a world war that might have been averted. When war came to England they went looking for Churchill, who saw the reality clearly in the beginning, to lead them through the terrible ordeal which by God’s grace he did.
Reality! Who do we celebrate, the doctor who makes an early, correct diagnosis of cancer, then addresses is the matter? Or the doctor who is casual, maybe inept, too busy with his life to be thorough with yours, or otherwise misses the reality of unhealthy, destructive cells growing in your body?
Truth is important! Reality is important! Seek to know both. Be willing to sacrifice for them. Pray for courage and insight. Then take courage.
The sooner you confront cancer the better off you are, no matter what the treatment looks like. The sooner you confront evil and lies the better off you are no matter what the ramifications look like.
It pleases God. And He will help you.
“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings….” Malachi 4:2
What do you want? Righteousness and justice, which the Bible says is the foundation of God’s throne, and which will result in a better and more lasting peace? Or “Peace, peace in our time,” no matter the cost and the future consequences?
Hopefully January 6, 2021, the truth will be known. And then men and women in positions of leadership will act with integrity? Will they act for their own enrichment? Or for the present and future good of the country? Or for “Peace, peace in our time?” God knows.
The stakes seem pretty high for our republic and our way of life. The church and culture seem to be spiraling on a downward path away from God and his ways. One senses this could be an opportunity to slow the slide or reverse it.
There appears to be much evil in our government and it seems to be gaining ground. There are many snares being laid for the righteous. There is much boasting, bribery, and pride. There are many thinking their evil ways are hidden and will not be revealed. But Jesus reminded us that is not how it will work.
“Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Luke 12:3
Historically, these are activities that happen in many cultures and countries. But they have been relatively few and out of sight in our country due to our founding father’s God-honoring roots, and moral population not willing to tolerate such.
These activities also historically have been shown to ignite the corrective actions of the Almighty. God is only unpredictable in the question of “when” and “how” He acts. As far as acting, He is the same yesterday today and forever.
At times it seems like His timetable is more like that of volcanoes, earthquakes, or geologic time. His timing is hard to predict and His judgments patiently delayed at times. He even says that about himself, as a warning to us.
“Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have not been true to me, and have neither remembered me nor taken this to heart? Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear me? Isaiah 57:11
“These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.” Psalm 50:21
But His judgments are true, and all together righteous. Only He has enough insight, wisdom, kindness, righteousness, and might, along with a merciful heart, to judge and act perfectly. He will act in His time.
We should decide what sort of time we think it is? And what our part or course of action should be? Practice justice and what’s right in your own life and realm. And pray for our country and leaders as in fact He instructs us to do.
“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
“First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for everyone— for kings and all those in authority— so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,” I Timothy 2: 1-3
May God have mercy on our country. Christmas peace to you all.
“For this reason God will send them a powerful delusion so that they believe the lie” 2 Thes 2:11
I don’t watch the news. I haven’t watched a news cast in well over 20 years, probably 30 years. I hear things here and there in the marketplace and have friends tell me what’s going on in the world if they think it’s pertinent, would interest me, or it comes up in conversation. Then if I want, I can go to the web and try to figure out the story or event from an unbiased source without an agenda or slant — these days a scarce commodity.
That’s good enough for me. Solomon, reported to be the wisest man who ever lived, about 1000 BC said, “I’ve been young and now I am old, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) Isaiah in about 700 BC said by the Spirit, “He who keeps his ears from hearing about bloodshed and his eyes from looking upon evil will dwell securely with me.” (Isaiah 33:15-16) And Jesus said in about 30AD, “…your eyes are the window to your heart.” And Solomon again said, “above all else watch over your heart.” (Pro 4:23)
So I read the Bible, and study history, believing like Churchill that we see more clearly what lies ahead by looking back at the past.
And then I try to lead a quiet and peaceful life and work with my hands. And think upon beautiful and positive things as the Apostle Paul instructed the church in Thessalonica and Philippi and the church of all ages to do.
“and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,” I Thes 4:11
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Phil 4:8
“I try not to consider things too difficult for me,” as did David, king of Israel, one of my heroes in the faith. (Psalm 131:1) And leave all the heavy lifting to the Lord of creation and the Lord of human history. (Isa 30:15 & Zech 4:6) He is going to be up all night anyway, so I can peacefully sleep. (Psalm 121:4)
The Evening News — Life Is Bad
My father was a news adict, especially later in life, and I would say typical of the population in that regard, certainly his generation. I was a news attic in college and earlier in life. But it’s like I used to tell my dad about the news, “They don’t tell you that 7.79999 billion people get up, go to work, school or play, every day, and come home, without anything bad happening to them.” Instead, they scour the earth for images and reports of bloodshed and violence and paste that all over the evening news — these days, the 24/7 news. We all know that’s what attracts people’s attention. People will watch it and also watch the advertising during the newscast. And subsequently buy the products, so that more such news casts can be produced, for profit. But is this a correct representation of life on the planet? Is it the truth about what’s going on each day? Is it the big picture? As best as we can envision it? I would say no! I would say it’s a lie. A system perpetuating lie about life and living on the planet.
The Bible — Life Is Good
Life is good on the planet. Especially for those who abide with the Lord (Jn 15:5, Ps 91:1-2). It’s a gift! A gift to be seized and enjoyed each and every day we awaken. Carpe Diem. Enjoy the gift!
The prophets of old attest to this, even as they predicted future judgment and doom on those who rejected the goodness of God and the close relationship he graciously and mercifully proffered, and proffers still. We see the last of them, Malachi, writing, ” “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” (Malachi 4:2)
At the same time there does seem to be some spiritual “second law of thermodynamics” at play. Things with humans tend to disorder and decay without His sustaining life and activity on our behalf.
We’ll call it a mystery because that’s how the apostles described it, and that’s what it is. It’s observable in people of every race and every generation for which we have record. In every epoch from Job to this very day. (I Tim 3:16)
So we observe it works but know not how it works — like believers and the wind John describes in John 3:7. This seems to be only communicated in the Bible, and from person to person, also involving a direct revelation or encounter with the Holy Spirit of God. That’s the most beautiful and mysterious part. It’s like a secret, but as Tozer tells us, “It’s an open secret.”
The church, disciples of Christ, of all people should know this, and be practicing His presence in public and in secret. But there seems to be a serious delusion at work. Perhaps a delusion that was predicted and revealed to the Apostles that would take place in the latter days. (2 Thess 2:11)
Darwinism — Evolution
Some have suggested Darwinism to be that delusion. What’s commonly called the Theory of Evolution is not supportable by modern science — it’s something that is proven more so each year to be not only improbable but impossible. Yet it is painted as truth in textbooks and museums around the world. In the same time frame as Darwin came Karl Marx in the political world and Sigmund Freud in the psychology world and other men of the age, in the spirit of the French Enlightenment, who wished to experience or create or imagine a world without God. A powerful delusion.
As I ponder this today I see the media as “a powerful delusion” or a major part of it. Day after day, night after night, they pour forth their lies and half truths, that bring them monetary gain and keep people watching, serving their financial ends and political agendas, acting like little gods helping us see the world in their truth and their light.
Do you watch it? Then you know. How does it make you feel? I admit it appeals to the humanistic side of all of us — to know. We want to know. “In the day you eat thereof, you will be like gods knowing good from evil ….” said Satan to Adam and Eve. (Gen 3:5)
And if the subtile work of humanism has crept in on you until you are possibly a Christian-humanist (that should be an oxymoron), then you think you must know these things so you can fix them, like a god. Okay I better stop… hopefully you get it or will.
Unfounded Fear — A Judgment
One very interesting, observable side effect of this negative news and sensationalism, is that people living in one of the most free, most safe, most prosperous countries in the world live in some measure of fear and dread, not enjoying the blessings given them because of fear of situations that aren’t substantiated or real.
I think you can add this to one of the judgments of the Lord on our land, along with hurricanes, wildfires, super winds, pestilence and plague. A judgment of fear. Fear is typically a tool of Satan. Much of the time it is irrational. The propensity for fear in humans serves both good and bad purposes. It seems sort of wired into us at our core. So without spiritual protection, we are susceptible to it’s ravages and angst.
So I will ask you this,”Why do you watch the news?” I see it like taking a little poison pill daily. You can feed your faith or feed your fears? Maybe you like being lied to? Or maybe you feel like you’re so important, you have to know? Or that knowing makes you more important to others?
I don’t want to make too big an issue of this. It could be that you want to be a living part of your culture, an agent for change, and you think this is an integral part of life and living? Or maybe you have the calling of a watchman or prophet on your life? You decide. But give some thought to unplugging! Those around you and your own heart will thank you.
As I once told one of my best friends, who was very spiritual, a believer, and a watchman, “Brian, promise me you’ll read your Bible at least as much as you watch CNN, FOX, Etc.!” He said he would. And I know he did. You can’t tell a watchman not to watch! But you, decide for yourself, what the Spirit would have you do.
Secular Humanism — The Great Delusion
At any at any rate, we are not like God. We are made in his image, but we are not like him. He is “other” than his creation.
Come to think about it, the media may not be the great delusion. It may simply be the voice of the great delusion. Secular humanism is possibly the great delusion. Man thinking he is God, or trying to be like God, and go forward without Him. Delusional! A powerful delusion.
How does that happen? How does it work? Is it a valid model for what has befallen our churches and culture? Is it a piece of the puzzle? And maybe a most important piece? We’ll look at that next, or soon!
“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” Jesus Matthew 6:22-24
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23
“Their idols are silver and gold, The work of human hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak; They have eyes, but they cannot see; They have ears, but they cannot hear; They have noses, but they cannot smell; They have hands, but they cannot feel; They have feet, but they cannot walk; They cannot make a sound with their throat. Those who make them will become like them, Everyone who trusts in them.” Psalm 115:4-8
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” I Tim 1:17
My first interaction with China was in June 2008. I flew a Boeing 777 to Shanghai from Chicago for American Airlines and spent a couple days in the city. I know Shanghai is more western and showy than the rest of China because of its history and interaction with the West. But I will never forget what I saw there; its vibe, its raw economic and technological power.
My second and most recent encounter with China was yesterday. I tested positive for COVID-19.
I had experienced symptoms for a few days of what I was pretty certain was a common cold, an intermittent wet cough and a mild headache. But I was planning to fly today to a Bible conference and visit some friends in Monroe Louisiana, so I thought it prudent to be tested.
And just like that, the trip was canceled, and I began the prescribed 14-day quarantine from the first day of coughing, along with my beautiful bride who now must also assume she’s contagious, although she’s asymptomatic.
I hope it’s not too much togetherness for her! 🙂 We will try to social distance in the house, using different bedrooms and bathrooms, practice excessive hand washing, and wearing masks if we need to be closer than six feet. But our daughter who is a MD says she is likely to get it anyway. I don’t know many people personally who have contracted COVID-19, less than ten I think, but in every case except one where there was a couple involved, they both got it.
I hope and pray if she gets it, her symptoms will be mild like mine. 99% of the cases reportedly are. The mystery and variety of the 1% is what’s troubling.
The biggest pain for us is the restriction of freedom. Not going out to eat, to shop, to run errands, etc. But we will make the best of it. Lots of reading, writing and journaling for me — that’s not a big change. It will be harder for her.
As someone said early in the pandemic, their baseboards have never been so clean. Those of you who know my wife know they’re already clean. I’ll probably have to get them re-painted after this!
Our kids called last night concerned, but also pointing out this could be a good thing and good timing going into the holidays, as we’ll be immune and not worried about getting it or giving it to others! 🙂
A bird just flew into our windows with a thud. Then it flew away in a bit of shock, confusion and with a headache, if birds get headaches?
I guess that’s what having COVID-19 myself means for me spiritually? I feel like I’m awake spiritually, and walking in light, His light. But how does one really know? Deception has the intrinsic quality that if you are deceived — you don’t know it.
But that bird knows it now! Whatever he or she saw enticing or encouraging full speed flight into our window was a mistake. It was caused by an illusion, a wrong perception, not seeing things as they really are.
China — A Piece of the Puzzle
My COVID-19 story has gotten long, so my China musings will be brief. They will serve as an introduction for you possibly of what has recently come onto my personal radar.
A few weeks ago a retired CEO in our 2020 book club and men’s group told us about a secular book he was reading about China. The author is an intellectual, a think tank person, but one who has advised several US presidents on foreign policy and international affairs.
I have not read the book yet, but I will. As our CEO friend shared from his notes and then a summary, it became clear that political China is an enemy of the United States of America. Also that they are probably already the world’s leading economic power, and on a course to be the world’s leading military power. The author, for reasons I won’t go into at this juncture, sees a future war with China as probable if not in inevitable.
I’m coming to see that China may be to us what ancient Babylon was to Judah before 586 BC — on the rise. A tiger. A dragon. Read Habakkuk, as he asks the Lord about what he was seeing in Babylon and Judah, and what would be the outcome of it all?
Ask yourself, “Why did China suspend all flights from Wuhan into China while releasing flights into the rest of the world?”
I’ll build my case later for this. But I see China as a major piece of the puzzle for life in the U.S. and on the planet in the next chapter, even in this present darkness.
They are to us a formidable enemy on the rise like Babylon was to Judah before 586 BC. It depends on the prayers and repentance of the church when and whether they come.
Either way one can read Habakkuk and see the Lord’s discussion with the prophet as how it might play out. And more importantly how a true believer will act and regard these times and those times, if it happens the way I’m describing.
To complicate the matter, although it’s not complicated to the Lord, almost certainly the largest and healthiest church in the world is the underground church in China. Its size is estimated about the same as the US population currently. They are our kingdom brothers and sisters in the true faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So while they are our true friends, their government is our true enemy. The situation merits watching, just like watching Israel .
You may recall Jesus told us to be alert for the signs that point to the end of the age, or the latter days, and his return.
Israel has always been one of those signs and will always be, because of God’s promises to them and to the nations who treat them well or treat them poorly.
I’ve often thought China would loom large and be a major player in the end time events. Now there is much evidence this is the case. And the time could be now, in the coming decades, maybe even in just a few years?
More on this later but let me point you to a few books and publications that point to the truth and evidence of what I’m suggesting.
Also about Christian life in China’s underground church: Bold as a Lamb Ken Anderson The Story of Samuel Lamb
My Advice & My Personal Tact
Stay awake. Stay alert. Stay close.
Abide in the vineyard. Stay close to the Master. Be like Habakkuk at the end of his book. The Lord bless and keep you. The Lord turn his face toward you and be gracious to you. The Lord cause his countenance to shine upon you and give you peace. Amen [Numbers 6:24-26]
“O LORD, I have heard the report of You; I stand in awe, O LORD, of Your deeds. Revive them in these years; make them known in these years. In Your wrath, remember mercy!” Hab 3:3
“Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places.” Hab 3:17-19
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you….” Psalm 91:1-3a
It might appear that the election for our president is over. It might be said the Lord’s decision in the matter is final? But where the Lord of creation, the mighty God, is concerned, it’s not over till it’s over, maybe even after it’s over? Remember Lazarus?
If there was any skulduggery, impropriety, corruption in the election process, I pray it be shown. If there is any legal challenge to the results, I pray the laws of the land prevail. We are still a nation of laws despite the corruption and abuse of the present generation.
That said, I am aware that Mr. Biden received, I believe The New York Times reported, four million or so more popular votes than did President Trump. And of course they clamor for doing away with the electoral college, thinking they have more wisdom than the Founding Fathers. I predict history will show, and indeed has shown, they do not. We wouldn’t have wanted to miss the crisis leadership of Abraham Lincoln, would we?
Anyway the people have voted in record numbers and asked for a certain king. It’s still my prayer that God will give us by some means known to him, legally of course, the best leader for our nation at such a time as this. And show His mercy in this way.
If that turns out to be Mr. Biden, perhaps succeeded by his running mate, “May the Lord do what seems good to him,” as Eli prayed.
I would suggest to Christians, if you can’t pray that way, perhaps you don’t know the goodness of our Lord nor his power. Sometimes the way up is down. He knows. A quick glance at the cross and the Roman empire would show us that.
Also if the election is where you placed all your hope for the future — the political system and our government may mean too much to you? And the kingdom of God with its present and eternal King too little? (Psalm 2)
Anyway, the real question is, “What will you do today, and the rest of your days?” The same question was posed by Joshua to a similar people, in a time similar to ours, with similar things at stake. Joshua said it this way, “Choose you this day whom you will serve… But as for me in my house, we will serve the Lord.”
“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
A friend of mine, a dentist, once said in a sermon from his church’s pulpit, “Only two days matter; this day and that day.” Choose wisely, and by His grace. Amen.
” By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just.” Proverbs 8:15
“No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.” Psalm 75:6-7
“So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the LORD; let Him do what is good in His eyes.” I Samuel 3:18
I have a good friend who started sending out a morning Scripture and missive five years ago or more. Today’s seemed to really fit for believers, so I share it with permission (bolding mine). Thanks Dwayne Russell.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,” 1 Peter 1:13-14 ESV “Set your hope fully on Him!!! There is a lot of craziness, lots disorder all around but Jesus is not moved from His position. We are still called to occupy till He comes. That day may be sooner than we think. We have to be willing to suffer as our Savior did. It may get harder before He comes, but one thing I know He is faithful and we can trust Him with our tomorrows.”
And today’s verse of the day from YouVersion seemed to be an excellent reminder considering our days and today. His blessings to you and yours!
“For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
Good morning! As I arise at the cabin before sun up and see the breaking of dawn on the horizon, I am reminded that God is faithful — the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. It’s in Him I put my trust, and not in any man or political system.
That said, He has ordained and given us our unique political system and government for His purposes and to serve us. Today is an important day in which we get to select our leader for the next four years. Please exercise your constitutional privilege, your civic duty and VOTE!
Yesterday’s blog mentioned two things that seem to be at the forefront of this election for Christians; platform and character. Both are important, but in this election I said the platform or issues loomed much larger than character, and I spoke to the issues. They are so starkly different that any Christian should see that to vote one way is to choose secular humanism or man’s rule in the totality of life, and to vote the other way would be to choose God, His ways and His rule in our national life.
But I said I would address the character issue and I will. First I will give you my short, simple version. Then quickly I will defer to an article a friend sent me yesterday by Wayne Grudem who discusses the same issue. I consider Wayne Grudem one of the best theologians and Bible scholars alive today. And he certainly hits this nail on the head, discussing the character issue in depth.
That we should be voting today between two men with low morals, according to the media and the campaign ads, says more about our country and ourselves, than it does about the candidates perhaps. So I would suggest a look inward, and upward, asking the Divine for help in righting our moral ship with His Trustworthy Compass.
But decide we must.
If one is in the business of throwing stones, both candidates loom large as targets. And their lives have been put under a media microscope, perhaps one more than the other. The critics of one point to pride and past sexual misconduct. The critics of the other point to bribes and corruption evidence, as well as someone who frequently says one thing and does another, or changes what he says about an issue depending on the audience .
I’m going to give my nod to President Trump as having the best character of the two. A man who has done what he said he would do when he ran four years ago and since he took office. Speaking the truth, and keeping your word to me are very important signs of underlying character.
And again, God is the ultimate judge of character and actions, not me, not you. We just have to look at our options and vote.
Wayne Grudem’s thoughts are through, well thought out, and conveyed, typical of writers, scholars, and theologians. I’m only going to quote a few thoughts here that seem the most apropos to the issue and provide you the link. He writes (Bolding mine.):
“A candidate’s character and policies are both important to consider before voting. And I would agree that there are some character flaws so serious that they would by themselves disqualify a candidate (such as an avowed racist). But in most elections, and with most candidates, we have to choose between two rather ordinary human beings, both of whom have flaws. In that case, an evaluation of their policies becomes decisive. And that is the case in this election.”
“Here is the point at which people will make different political judgments, because human beings are extremely complex, and therefore an accurate assessment of a person’s character is difficult. It certainly should not be done quickly on the basis of small snippets of information. And complicating the task is the fact that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:20), so every human being has flaws that others can criticize.
Piper speaks of Trump’s character in entirely negative terms. Because of unbelievably hostile reporting in the mainstream press, other people can see no good character traits at all in President Trump. My assessment is different, and I think it is more balanced. I wrote this in 2016 and it still applies:
“’He is egotistical, bombastic, and brash. He often lacks nuance in his statements. Sometimes he blurts out mistaken ideas…that he later must abandon. He insults people. He can be vindictive when people attack him…He has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages. These are certainly flaws, but I don’t think they are disqualifying flaws in this election.’”
“On the other hand, I think some of the accusations hurled against him are unjustified. His many years of business conduct show that he is not racist or anti-(legal) immigrant or anti-Semitic or misogynistic – I think these are unjust magnifications by a hostile press exaggerating some careless statements he has made. I think he is deeply patriotic and sincerely wants the best for the country. He has been an unusually successful problem solver in business. He has raised remarkable children. Many who have known him personally speak highly of his kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity.”
“And now, after his nearly four years in office, I would add that he has shown remarkable courage of his convictions, faithfulness to his campaign promises, steadfastness of purpose in spite of an astoundingly hostile press, incredible energy in the performance of his job, dignity and even eloquence in many formal speeches and ceremonies at home and abroad, respect and appreciation for his wife Melania and his sons and daughters, and a wide-ranging understanding of the hundreds of different issues that every president faces. In contrast to his past life, during his term in office there is not been even a hint of any sexual impropriety. He is sometimes boastful but on a number of occasions I have seen him publicly give credit to many other people for things that have been accomplished. And I think he has shown mature and wise judgment in a variety of situations that he has faced as president.”
“With Trump, we will get good policies and character flaws, but with Biden we will get bad policies and character flaws.”
“It is easy to compare President Trump with a hypothetical “perfect” president and to conclude that he falls short, but that is not our choice. If Trump is not reelected, we will have President Biden, with an entirely different set of character flaws. The multiple allegations that Vice President Biden used his government office and influence to enrich members of his own family with millions of dollars from China, Russia, and Ukraine should be of deep concern, because using government power to enrich one’s own family is the consistent characteristic of corrupt leaders in many countries of the world.”
“The Trump administration has brought to prominence many leaders with exemplary lives.”
“Donald Trump is not the only person we are voting for. It is remarkable that the Trump administration has elevated so many self-professing evangelical Christians – far more than any in my lifetime – into positions of high influence in our government. They also provide role models for Americans. To vote for Trump as president is also to vote for Mike Pence as vice president, Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Russell Vought as director of the Office of Management and Budget, and numerous others. In addition, Trump has appointed numerous deeply committed Roman Catholics to various positions, the most recent being Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The character of these leaders is also a role model for the nation.”
I hope you have found this discussion helpful. And that you will vote… wisely. For your own well being, as well as that of our children, and our grandchildren. America is in a moral free fall it seems, the kind that has produced collapse and judgment in the past, and this election will not fix that problem. Only the God that gave us life, and this nation birth, can do that. And He’s willing to help. But the outcome of this election will be a big step in one direction or the other. In letting Him know what we want. And showing us what we’re asking for?
May God give you wisdom, and peace, as you consider the options, and VOTE!
“Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” I Kings 8:61
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;”Col 4:2
“This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” I Cor 7:35