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
“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…
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!
“…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
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
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.
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
I’m working on a book about the puzzles of COVID and our times — in the church and in the culture. I had a dream of getting it finished before the 2020 Presidential election tomorrow. It was a dream when I had the thought, and it’s clearly not going to happen. But I intend to include these thoughts anyway when I do publish. It will date the book and tie it’s genesis to this time and this season in our country’s history but that’s fine. It’s actually very apropos to the theme of the book.
The puzzle of this election even being close, and it promises to be so, exposes a cloud of deception over our churches and our country. Deception is puzzling isn’t it? How do people, a large group of intelligent people come to believe completely opposite things or positions? Even among close friends and close family members? Many times both calling themselves Christians. Puzzling? Especially when these positions are so clearly different — practically opposite!
I write to Christians, people who believe the Bible, people who know and fear God. But truth is truth for every human just as it is for every Christian. I want to write with “gentleness and respect” as Christians are instructed to do. (I Peter 3:15) And with humility of course, but honestly I don’t get it — how a disciple of Christ, one who reads and believes the Bible, one who fears God in a healthy way could choose to vote left in this election? Puzzling indeed!
But God certainly honors our free wills, so certainly I should, and I will.
I just want to state my voting position and how I came to it.
This election and the last were so very simple to me. Which candidate has the best character? By their fruits you shall know them. Not by what they say, but by what they do. Jesus taught us this truth. I know that’s hotly debated, and I don’t want this to get long, so I will discuss that in tomorrow’s blog.
The LORD judges people, peoples, and nations according to His Word, the Bible. Read Psalm 2. It’s demonstrated and repeated throughout the Bible. Wise men and women aplenty have seen it in history too and become seers and leaders in their crucial times, e.g. Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc.
Which platform or agenda shows more deference, honor, and respect for God and His ways? That’s the one to vote for each and every time if you value His blessings and your well being. That’s what the Bible says.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” Ps 33:12
“Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34
 One side is pro life and against abortion. (Ez 7:23, Has 4:2, Lev 18:21)  One side supports Israel while the other doesn’t (Gen 12:3)
Those two issues alone are enough for me to see a clear voting decision. But there are more.
 One supports Biblical traditional marriage while the other doesn’t  One supports Religious freedom (not suing bakers or t-shirt makers for matters of conscience) (The First Amendment — Freedom of Religion and Speech) (Why the Pilgrims came to America in the beginning.)  One supports Economic freedom (reducing taxes and regulations to promote innovation and create jobs — the thinking of our founding fathers in America )
These have been in line with Christian thinking for nineteen centuries throughout the history of the church.
These line up with the Bible, and thus with the thinking of our Creator and Judge. The acceptance or rejection of them have strong future consequences as they have had strong historical consequences. Choose wisely. And may God bless and keep you. And may God have mercy and extend His hand of grace to our nation.
Isn’t it amazing the different theories and reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic in our families, friends and country? Those reactions are as mysterious as the disease itself. And they are telling … about us and what we believe about God, which A.W. Tozer says “is the most important thing about us.”
Isn’t the uncertainty and inconvenience causing us all to pause and think? To consider what might be going on, instead of running up and down the road, to and fro, living lives that are too busy doing meaningless things and serving our possessions and selfish purposes to extremes; yet not really noticing due to the speed of our lives. This slow down, if you want to call it that, seems to me like a grace attack. It’s affecting every country in the world, yet without destroying an inordinate number of lives.
If the God of the Bible, Who says He is the One true God, wanted to judge our country and world, then destroy it with fire as the Bible says He will in the end, He would have plenty of reason right now it would seem. Yet He mercifully restrains Himself and tries to show us what we are without Him, giving us yet another opportunity and more time to know Him and be known by Him. To consider our ways.
It’s more like, to use a medical analogy, the Lord our Cosmic Surgeon, has diagnosed our culture and church (not in that order probably?), to have cancer (a serious sin and idolatry problem), and He is going about cutting it out, before it spreads further, threatening to destroy the whole. Indeed I feel like He is answering the ancient prayer, “In wrath, remember mercy.”
I have a good friend who was taken by ambulance to the hospital yesterday with COVID. He has openly been skeptical of the threat of COVID and, while taking the normal suggested precautions, has thought that our reaction as a nation in fear is way out of proportion with the threat, and doing more damage to our economy and way of life than the disease. So this morning one of our common friends said, “Isn’t it ironic that the only local friend or acquaintance we know that has contracted the disease is him?
I also have a close college friend, the best man in our wedding, who flew fighters with me in the air force, retired from that, earned a theology degree and became a pastor in Colorado Springs. He and his wife contracted COVID a few weeks ago. She only had flu like symptoms, but he went to the hospital with it.
It’s synchronistic that both are named Ron, and both are Christians, not in name only, but in practice, part of His church and His family, known by Father God through His Son Jesus Christ. They are both healing up. If judgment begins in the house of the Lord, as Scripture tells us, perhaps mercy does too!?
Well I’m not trying to be prophetic or make this any kind of example, which one hardly could from two isolated instances anyway. I’m talking about walking by faith or by sight, in this COVID stricken time.
I called Gilberto, a friend in Honduras, last week to see what the situation was there with COVID, and whether we should be thinking about returning there on a mission trip this January. He reported things are improving and some tourists and missionaries are returning. Then I asked him, “Do you know anyone personally who has contracted the disease or has died from it?” He said, “No.”
How many do you know? So why are so many so afraid?
Oh, it’s a real threat. People have and are dying with it. Also how it’s contracted and how it’s to be treated and further prevented has mystified health care professionals around the globe. So the “unknown” aspect of it has caused many to fear.
But child of God? What have you to fear? Death has lost it’s sting. The grave has no power over you as demonstrated by your Savior, Redeemer, Friend. Nor does anything, any circumstance short of death. Grace is available for living. So is faith. It’s a gift from God you know. Ask for it in prayer if you feel you need more. Dive into the Word, and rediscover the powerful God of your trust.
Creation & Thermodynamics
Yes, there’s decay in the world. It’s a part of His design. And it’s the reason we need Him and the care and relationship He proffers. It’s a universally accepted law of physics, the second law of thermodynamics, that everything tends toward disorder and decay over time. They use the word “entropy” which is defined as a “lack of order or predictability, gradual decline into disorder.”
But in Scripture we read that Jesus the Son of God, was creator of all we see and call home. And then we read that He now sustains it by the power of his Word.
“All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” John 1:3 *
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:16*
“The Son reflects the glory of God and shows exactly what God is like. He holds everything together with his powerful word. When the Son made people clean from their sins, he sat down at the right side of God, the Great One in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3 NCV
We also read the hairs on our heads are numbered by Him, and not a sparrow falls to the ground without His awareness. The birds of the air and lilies of the field do just fine without worry, and we’re instructed to live like they do by the caring Creator.
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then …” Jesus (Matthew 6: 26-31a NASB)
Feed Your Faith not Your Fear
Do a word study on “sustains,” read Psalms 139, read the Sermon on the mount. Feed your faith and not your fear.
You can read the Psalms, the New Testament, the Old Testament, some of the Bible every day or you can listen to CNN or Fox News? You can feed your faith or your fear. You choose. What you do says a lot about what you believe and who you trust, does it not?
“Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me.” Psalm 131:2
If even a wise, busy king charged with running a kingdom can say this, surely we can. The same king no doubt read, and meditated on the Psalms, because he wrote most of them. Then the Bible would go on to say about him that, “he had a heart like God’s” and that “he accomplished the purposes of God in his generation.”
And the author of most of the New Testament and an apostle of Jesus Christ, charged with bringing the Gospel to the gentile nations and birthing the church, a reasonably active guy we might deduce, said to…
“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.” I Thessalonians 4:11-12 NASB
And pray to your Father in secret….to hear from Him personally…. to be continued.