This is one of three blogs that I maintain. I maintain three blogs for the benefit of my readers. Each blog focuses on a different subject. This blog is where I take my understanding of the principles from my first two blogs and apply them to matters of culture, politics and current events. Essentially, you can think of ‘As Through Glass‘ as a political blog written from a Scriptural perspective. My first blog page, ‘The OYL,’ focuses on how I understand and try to live according to Scriptural teaching. My second blog, ‘The Road to Concord,‘ focuses on the principles of Liberty, as understood from the Scriptural position of Natural Law. In the past, I have refrained from connecting these three blogs. I am ashamed to admit that this was done mostly out of fear. From this point forward, however, I will not allow fear to muzzle me. I will interconnect the different areas of larger issues by linking to any of my other blogs whenever I feel lead to do so. As best I can understand it, the task I have been given is to just explain how I see and understand the Scriptures; what I have learned about the things that have been and are happening in the world around us; and how I see the ways they are all connected. If you find that anything I ever write helps you better understand the Scriptures or the world in which we live, I would humbly ask that you share those messages with others. I will not be advertising or promoting any of my blogs in any way. Again, as best as I can understand it, I have been told to leave the spread of my blogging efforts strictly up to those who read it. I am not to help in any way. Therefore, that is exactly what I am going to do: I will write, as much and as clearly as I can, then leave it to God — working through you — to put whichever of my messages need to be read before whomever needs to read them. In this way, whatever good my blogs may achieve, it will be entirely by the hand of the Lord. At least, this is my most sincere desire and prayer.
If you still follow this blog, you may have noticed that I have not been active for some time now. There are several reasons for this. One of them was hurricane Michael. It damaged our home and severely damaged our community last October, and, as of yet, nothing in our lives around here has returned to anything resembling normal. I also allowed myself to become distracted by Face Book. I thought I could do better by reaching more people on that medium rather than with my blogging. I was wrong. But the real reason I stopped blogging is even more difficult to explain; mostly because I do not know how to explain it without sounding arrogant, self-centered or conceited. Still, if you are still out there, I owe it to you to try to explain.
I started blogging close to fifteen years ago. At that time, I thought I had something to say that others simply had to hear. I was wrong I was doing it because I liked the sound of my own voice, the attention it got me and the conflict it generated. In short, when I started blogging, I was part of the problem. Along the way, I started trying to actually live my faith. Looking back, I can see that, the better I got at walking according to Scripture, the more I drew back from expressing my thoughts and opinions. Until, now, I not only do not think I have anything of any great value to share, I have no desire to share it. Where blogging was once great fun to me, now, I count it nothing but drudgery. I simply do not want to do it — not anymore.
This brings me to the reason for this post. I have recently realized that I must stop with Face Book. In fact, I must pull back from a great many of the things most of us have come to consider as just being a normal part of our daily lives. Now, this is the part where I do not know how to explain what comes next without giving my readers the wrong impression — but I’ll try. I must draw back from these things because they are poison. At the same time, I must try to warn those who will listen. The only way I can warn anyone and have any certainty that I have some degree of control over maintaining my message is to go back to blogging. I own the domains — at least for the time being. This means, the information I post remains under my control — again, for the time being. This is quickly going to become absolutely crucial to anyone who seeks to learn or preserve the Truth. I see a great evil coming. In fact, I fear it is already upon us. And I am compelled to explain what I have been shown to anyone with ears to hear.
This is why I am not only going to return to all three of my blogs, but I am going to be more active and write with much more purpose than I ever have. But I am not doing so because I want to do so. In fact, I want to avoid this more than ever, because — if I am correct about what is coming — my blogging may well seal my fate, and that of the ones I love most. No, I am going to return to my blogs because it is what I know I am supposed to be doing and because, more than anything, I wish to be obedient to He Who matters most. At the same time, I wish my readers to know that I am no prophet, nor do I claim to be. I have been given no special revelation. In fact, I have no special gifts of any kind. I am just a person who said, “Here I am, send me,” and He — in His great wisdom — sent me. Now, I only pray I do not fail Him, or any of you who may read my words. This will be my prayer from this point forward: this, and that my words will somehow help whomever they are meant to find.
[NOTE: In the next few days, I will write a post explaining my plans for all three of my blogs. Please stay tuned. I won’t be long in putting up my next post.]
For several years (decades, actually), I have felt that we in America (and the West in general) have been regressing, sliding backward in human advancement. The problem was, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t quite find a tangible way to explain what I was sensing — until today. Have you ever heard about an HBO series called, “The Game of Thrones” (GOT). Apparently, a great many people have followed and enjoyed this show for some eight years now, but the show has come to an end. This was the show’s last season. The finale recently aired, and many fans have expressed strong feelings of discontent over the way the show ended. Well, I was listening to The Steve Deace Show today, from The Blaze TV, and I was quite surprised when Steve went into a lengthy explanation of why he believes so many people are unhappy with the show’s finale. I was surprised because, having never seen a single episode, I still knew that what Steve was saying is true. What’s more, Steve was able to use GOT to illustrate the same observation I have been trying to explain for many years. Here’s the connection in a nutshell.
In short, the way Steve Deace sees GOT, the series finale left people wanting because — in the end — there was no purpose to any of the previous eight years. Apparently, there is no closure in the finale; it just eaves a long list of unanswered questions. But Steve sees something else missing, something bigger; something that is buried far below the level of most peoples’ conscious awareness. The GOT finale lacks a sense of redemption. The series ends without any advancement. In the end, the surviving characters end up essentially in the same place where the show began, only with new faces in the same old positions of authority, wrestling over the same old problems. This causes discontent because, whether we are consciously aware of it or not, this ending means the entire show has been about nothing but senseless killing and the pursuit of licentious lusts; and that realization — whether conscious or subconscious — leaves the spiritual side in all of us wanting because we naturally yearn for that redemption. We need it. And when we see an ending like this to a story we have been vested in for so long, it stirs a spiritual fear within us. That fear is the knowledge that we — humanity — is beyond hope. Unless someone greater than ourselves steps in to save us, we are doomed to be what we have always been: lawless savages doomed for destruction.
Now I do not know him that well (yet), but — from what little I have heard — it would appear that Steve Deace and I both believe that we — humanity — is no longer ‘Progressing.’ We reached the pinnacle of human advancement long ago and have been sliding backward for decades. Today, everything seems to have been turned upside-down. We call our dominant political movement ‘Progressivism,’ but it is actually a regressive ideology. It rejects God, tramples on the individual, thrives on theft and destruction and worships death. This isn’t progress, it is a return to Paganism. According to Steve Deace, this is exactly what GOT represents: it i a reminder of the way things were before the rise of the Judeo/Christian faith, when the world was still controlled by Pagans. Therefore, when we see there was no hope for the characters in GOT, we realize there is no hope for us, either. Well, if we continue down the path we’re on now, there isn’t any. Sadly, I fear we are not only going to continue down this path, we are going to start killing any of us who try to stop it.
There is a pattern in the GOT story line. It is told in Scripture, and throughout all of recorded human history. Paganism holds man in perpetual meaninglessness. Only by accepting the Judeo/Christian faith has man managed to ‘advance’ (and even then, it was only because of the Holy Spirit working through those nations that had been won to The Lord). Just as it can be seen in the history of Pagan nations, it can be seen in the history of those nations that were won to The Lord and then left Him. Every time a nation that has been won to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob turns from Him, that nation starts down a bath of depravity and destruction. You’d think, if man were capable of ‘evolving,’ we’d have learned from history. Every time God restored Israel, Israel eventually turned its back on Him, chased after the Pagan ways of its neighbors, and was destroyed as a result. If you look back over just the last few hundred years, we will see the pattern repeated, just as it played out with the Hebrews. It destroyed Russia, Europe and — now — it is destroying America. Apparently, Steve Deace sees this same pattern in the GOT story line. Unfortunately, this suggests that he predictable result for America is an ending similar to that of GOT. Unless we turn back to God, all we are going to do is end up with are new masters ruling over us as they try to ‘solve’ the same problems that they said they could fix if we gave them power: the same exact problems that have plagued humanity since time began. In other words, we are going to end up just like the characters in GOT.
There is a Spiritual warning here: man cannot and will never be able to save himself. Only Christ can do that, and then, only if we accept Him as our Lord and Master — which means obeying His commands. In fact, if we look, and have eyes to see and ears to hear, we’ll find there have been many Spiritual warnings in recent years. They are everywhere, and yet, too few are seeing them, and fewer still are trying to warn anyone about them. I pray I will not be among the silent, and that is why I write. I have no idea who I will reach with this blog, or whether I will do any good, but that is not my concern. I just know I am supposed to share what I see and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit. He will insure that my words reach whoever they need to reach. I am confident of it. So, all I need to do is be obedient and share what I see happening. I just pray that you, dear reader, have the eyes and ears to see and hear whatever it may be that the Lord wishes you to get from my words.
NOTE: this post is totally of my own doing and motivation. It is a theme that I will continue to explain as time goes on, mostly because it has helped me a great deal and I wish to share it with others — just in case it might help others, as well.
I believe in conspiracy theory, but the theory in which I believe is probably nothing like those the average person thinks of when they hear the term. No, I believe in the conspiracy theory described in the Scriptures. Yes, you read that correctly: there is a grand conspiracy theory written in the Scriptures. What’s more, it hasn’t been hidden. The Lord laid it bare, for all the world to see and understand. You have to have to learn to see through Spiritual before you will recognize it for what it is, but I assure you: once you see it, you will never be able to unsee it. Once you see this Spiritual conspiracy, you will recognize it as the motivating force driving the whole of human history, and you will see the Spiritual hands in nearly everything that happens in our material world. It’s true. Once you see and understand this Spiritual conspiracy, you will see and understand everything that has, is and will ever happen all happens for a single, solitary purpose. But, as I said, first you have to learn to see with Spiritual eyes.
For me, it started when I began to study prophecy. Most believers have a fascination with prophecy, and I am no different. However, unlike most believers, I did not study prophecy by reading books about what other men have to say about prophecy. I studied what the Scriptures actually had to say about the subject. As a result, I came away with a very different understanding of the Lord’s prophetic word. In fact, my understanding is so different from what most people believe that, when they learn how I understand prophecy, they consider me a heretic. But it is this understanding that not only helps me to see the Spiritual conspiracy unfolding all around us, but it also drove me to finally selling out for the Lord. Therefore, I will start with how my study of prophecy changed how I see everything around me.
The first thing I discovered when I started to study what the Scriptures say about the future is that there is no such person called the Antichrist mentioned anywhere in Scripture. It’s true. Look it up and you will find that the word is only used four times, and every time, it is used to describe a spirit. Then I discovered that the ‘king who is to come’ is not a man, but a spiritual being. In fact, Daniel is told about several spiritual rulers. There is a spiritual ruler over Persia, and one over Greece, and one who was yet to come. Daniel was even told that there is a spiritual leader over Israel, the Arch-Angel, Michael. Furthermore, where most believe it was just a mere angel who told all this to Daniel, I noticed that the description of this angel is an almost identical match to that of Jesus in the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ. What if the angel who spoke to Daniel was a per-incarnate Jesus? Well, for one thing, it makes these spiritual leaders rather powerful, especially since one of them delayed Christ coming to Daniel for some three weeks.
Then I discovered that Daniel seems to treat the future as two different time periods. There is a period called the End Times. It is in this period that all things will come to a head. The world will turn against Israel, the Lord will return to defend Israel, and all things will be fulfilled. In short, the End Times end in Judgment Day. But there is a time between Daniel and the End Times. Daniel is even told that the current epoch in which he lived would come to an end and the next, third epoch would begin after that. This is found in Daniel’s seventy weeks. Daniel knew that the first epoch was that of the Patriarchs, and that he lived in the second epoch, that of the Law of Moses. But what does the Lord call the third and final epoch? Well, I cannot show you where Scripture says this, because it doesn’t, but I suspect the Lord actually has several names for this third period. Many know it as, The Last Days, but I believe it is also known as the Tribulation and the Church Period. But set all that aside for later. Look now at Genesis and Revelation.
In Genesis, we are told that the Lord splits mankind into nations. He then creates Israel as His inheritance. He sets Israel apart. It is to be a beacon to all the other nations. It is to teach the other nations about God and about how man should live and worship. But Israel does not do this. Instead, it rebels. So, the Northern Tribes are cast into the nations and the Southern Tribes are kept as a remnant. But the Southern Tribes become just as corrupt until, in the fullness of time, Jesus is born into this world. God gives His Son as a sacrifice, therefore fulfilling the law Law of Moses for all men who would accept this sacrifice on their behalf. It is from this point that things start to really happen in the Spiritual battle. It is after the Ascension that the rider on the white horse goes out to conquer. Most believe that this rider is the fictitious Antichrist, but it is not. It is Christ, Himself. The bow is Judah, and Christ goes forth to conquer the nations. What is happening here is the Kingdom of God has begun, and God has sent His Son and His Son’s Church to take back the nations by making disciples of them. It is the start of a grand Spiritual War to reclaim that which was lost in Genesis.
So, who is this false prophet who causes the world to follow a false god? Well, I’m not sure, but I do know that there has only been one man universally known as ‘the prophet,’ and that is Muhammad. I also know that he caused nearly one third of men throughout the whole of time to worship a false god. There are many other reasons to connect Muhammad and Islam to the last kingdom mentioned in Daniel, but that is also a subject for another time. For now, the thing to understand is that we have an apostate religion (i.e. Islam) created by a false prophet which has lead to the spiritual death of roughly one third of humanity.
Then there is the burning mountain that falls at the fountain head and poisons the waters. Wormwood, or death, is not a meteor, and the waters are not rivers or oceans. Scripture is talking about something that is spiritually dead. Whereas Islam is an apostate religion that worships a false god, it is still a religion. It is still spiritual. But all form of the thing we call ‘Socialism’ are ‘secular.’ In other words, they are spiritually dead. The notion of government as our god is Spiritual death, and yet, this notion has consumed some third of all people since it appeared. Again, another third of men lost.
Now, if you will consider all the things that this false Antichrist figure is said to do when he comes. Suppose that these things do not apply to a single person, but to the spiritual being over this fourth kingdom. In David’s time, a king and his kingdom were thought of as the same thing. David is told that a beast is a kingdom/it’s king. The fourth kingdom will be unlike any other. The kingdom of Christ is not a nation with borders, but a Spiritual nation. Satan is a copy-cat, so he will try to create a nation without borders — just like at the Tower of Babel. Islam is a spiritual nation, as is socialism/Communism. Both promise the things that this Antichrist figure is aid to do. They are both associated with war, the love of money, deception, etc. So, what if this is what we have missed?
What if the pattern we were supposed to see in prophecy was meant to teach us to look for this Spiritual War? And what if the forces of evil have been working to spoil God’s plan to bring the nations back to Him, as they were in the beginning? It would be a Spiritual Conspiracy among the forces of evil and aligned against God. But it would also explain everything we have always seen but could never quite explain. Why do so many different figures seem to match the description of this false Antichrist figure? Because there have been many people possessed of the spirit of Antichrist. Why have so many nations been built upon war and violence? Why have so many hated the Jews and Christians — even those who claimed Christ’s name? Why do we so many of the ancient symbols of evil in our modern society? The bull on Wall Street; the Star Bucks logo; the signs of Canaanite paganism: all symbols of ancient evil still with us today. We have flipped other ancient symbols of evil and made them into good. The color, black, is now seen as cool even though it represents spiritual darkness. There are many similar connections, but you have to learn them before you see them. However, once you learn of them, you will see them everywhere.
So, how is that possible? Men cannot stick to any plan for any length of time, and yet, today, we have a single plan that has been ongoing for nearly a century and a half. It is a plan to force all humanity under a one-world government. This is the thing we know as ‘socialism.’ Older than that is the religion of Islam. Both have remained constant, as have their symbols. They still war against God’s people — just as prophecy says they would. It all points to a conspiracy, but it is not an earthly conspiracy. It is a Spiritual Conspiracy and it is at war with the Lord and all those who fear Him. When you start to look at history and human event from this point of view, you will start to see that it’s all true. What’s more, when you let Scripture speak for and witness for itself, you will also discover that nothing I just described is in conflict with God’s Prophetic Word.
I would strongly suggest that you read these books. Know your Scriptures first, and test everything in these books against your Scriptures (just like I did), but let these books guide you. They will help you learn and understand the back story in which the Bible was written; the back story that the scribes and prophets took for granted that their audience already knew and understood.
How should a believer understand the concept of ‘tolerance?’ Our society places a high value on this thing we call ‘tolerance,’ but I have to wonder whether or not we are all using the word the same way. One side likes to pretend it holds the moral high ground on ‘tolerance,’ but, at the same time, it seeks to destroy any and all who hold different beliefs. How can one claim to be ‘tolerant’ while seeking to silence all opposing voices? Another side is ‘tolerant’ of anything and everything, to the point where the notion of ‘tolerance’ becomes a nothing issue. If one accepts anything and everything, then exactly what is the need for ‘tolerance?’ In both cases, the word, ‘tolerance,’ is used; but, in both cases, it means very different things. So, again, how should a believer understand the concept of ‘tolerance?’
I suspect I may see this as a tougher issue than most. This is because I find that I cannot agree with the way most people understand ‘tolerance.’ To the average person, believers included, ‘tolerance’ is closely related to acceptance. For me, even considering the possibility that ‘tolerance’ could mean acceptance flies in opposition to what I know of Scripture. For example: when I searched for what the Scriptures have to say about ‘tolerance,’ I found a listing of some 24+ verses that are supposed to be about ‘tolerance.’ However, when I read these verses, I found that many of them seemed to me to be more about ‘patience’ and ‘respect for others’ than they were about ‘tolerance.’ As I continued to read, I found that there are actually few — if any — verses in Scripture that teach us to be ‘tolerant’ in the way our society advocates the idea of ‘tolerance.’ In fact, Scripture seems to teach exactly the opposite of ‘tolerance.’ It teaches us to be intolerant, at least where foolishness, wickedness and evil are concerned.
Consider the many verses in the Old Testament that command a transgressor be put to death. In Deuteronomy 19:19, 22:21, 22:24 and 24:7, we are clearly told that we are to put the transgressors to death so that we may ‘purge the evil from among us.’ In the News Testament, we are often told to have nothing to do with those who refuse to change their wicked and evil ways. We find this teaching in passages such as 1 Cor 5:11 and Titus 3: 10-11. Then there are the many passages that clearly state believers are not to accept differences of opinions on matters of sound doctrine. This would include issues such as unrepentant homosexuality and female pastors, among other things. Our modern understanding of ‘tolerance’ has lead many believers to accept such teachings into the church, but passages such as Romans 16:17, 1 Cor 5:11, 1 Tim 6:2-5, 2 John 10:11 clearly forbid believers from ‘tolerating’ those who teach such things. So, how does a believer reconcile Scripture with our society’s emphasis on ‘tolerance?’
But let’s not stop there. We should consider what Scripture has to say about those who teach the idea that ‘tolerance’ requires acceptance. Proverbs 17:15 and Isaiah 5:20-21 both condemn people who try to make evil into good and good into evil. Then, knowing how the Lord feels about them, how does a believer ‘tolerate’ such people?
I do not pretend to have the answers, but I know that the answers are connected to my previous post on what it means to love one another. I look at it this way: if we truly believe the Scriptures are the Word of God, then we cannot allow ourselves to compromise on those matters where God’s Word clearly says this is right and that is wrong. Nor can we ‘tolerate’ people who claim otherwise. To do so is to ‘tolerate’ evil, and God’s people should have no part with evil. Scripture even says so. However, we are also commanded to show an agape love toward others. This includes those who teach evil. So, how does one show an agape love toward someone who is teaching evil? Again, I do not have the answer to this question as I suspect it will be different for every believer and, maybe, in every case. But I do know this: at no time does Scripture teach us to ‘tolerate’ evil or evil doers. To ‘tolerate’ evil among us is to live with evil, and Scripture teaches us that living with evil is the path toward becoming evil, ourselves.
When I was ‘younger’ in my faith, I never wondered what it meant to ‘love one another as I love myself.’ I knew what it meant. However, as I have grown in my faith, and I started to notice how many people use the notion of ‘love,’ I started to wonder whether or not I truly understood what Scripture meant by ‘love.’ We hear people urging each other to ‘love’ each other all the time, but what do they mean by that? Do they mean it the way Scripture intends us to understand it, or do they mean something entirely different? If they have a different idea in mind, what do they actually mean, and what might be the result or consequences of that different understanding? These are not insignificant questions. Sadly, though, few will ever ask them.
Why do I wonder about this issue? Well, for one, we use ‘love’ as a blanket notion, but Scripture does not — especially the New Testament. In the New Testament, Scripture uses several different words to describe different ideas of ‘love.’ Sometimes ‘love’ is more of an emotional feeling, but, other times, it is more of an intentional act. For example: when we are told to ‘love our enemies,’ we are not told to ‘like’ them. Scripture differentiates between having a righteous concern for others and having warm, friendly, affectionate feelings toward them. This difference is apparent in the original Greek of the New Testament, as well as in the actual context of the teachings it contains, but not in our modern translations. I just wonder whether or not modern believers are aware of this difference, let alone understand what it means for us in our daily walk.
A famous example is when Christ asks Peter if Peter loves Him. The first two times Jesus questions Peter, He asks Peter whether or not Peter agapes Him, but Peter answers that he phileos the Lord. Finally, on the third time, Jesus asks Peter whether or not Peter phileos Him and Peter says yes, yet again. Sadly, I think we miss the full impact of this passage. Jesus asked Peter two times whether or not Peter had a righteous, Godly love for Christ, and twice Peter answered that he had a fond, friendship type of love for the Lord. Seeing that Peter was not spiritually mature enough to understand what He was asking, Jesus finally comes down to Peter’s level and asks whether Peter has a friendship type of love for Him and Peter agrees with this understanding of ‘love.’ By doing this, Jesus demonstrates agape love: He showed concern for Peter’s well being and asked His question in such a way as not to harm Peter without reason. Or, in other words, Jesus ‘came down’ to Peter’s level of understanding. How many of us see and understand what was actually happening in this passage? And how does it change our understanding once we do understand?
Then there is the passage where Jesus says to ‘love your neighbor as yourself.‘ Here we are told to have a righteous concern, or a ‘Godly love for our neighbor — just as we have for ourselves. Again, we are not told that we must have fond feelings for our neighbor; we are told that we must look out for them, and treat them righteously. If we put this in modern terms, we might say that we should have a ‘tough love’ for our neighbors, just as we should have it for ourselves. This is the source of my concern: how many of us who urge each other to ‘love’ each other today actually mean we should show ‘tough love’ to each other? More than that, how many who speak in such terms means we should show ‘tough love’ toward ourselves? ‘Tough love’ is often the type of love that says no. That tells us when we are wrong. That puts the needs of others before ourselves. It’s also the the type of love that lets us fall down and skin our knee, and even ruin our lives when we refuse to listen to sound council. Sadly, I suspect that the majority of those who speak in terms of ‘love’ today are still stuck on the level of Peter: they think the ‘love’ God commands means to like or have affection for others, not to treat others as God treats us.
This brings us to the question of: what does it mean to ‘do good?’ This is another passage where we are told to love others, and to ‘do good’ to them — especially our enemies. In this passage, we are told to be righteous toward those who do not like us — even our enemies. And by ‘righteous,’ Scripture means to act in the morally correct way toward them. But here is where things get difficult. This means we not only have to know what the morally correct thing is, but how to act in the morally correct way in every situation we might encounter. When we start to learn how to do this, we start to realize that having a ‘righteous’ love for others does not mean we agree with them or tolerate their immoral actions.
I make no judgment of others who do not share my concern over what we each mean by ‘love.’ After all, Christ gave us the perfect example of how to handle this issue when He questioned Peter, and what better way for a believer to live than to follow the Lord’s example? But I do urge others to consider my words. What would it mean for us if I am correct to question this matter? How would that change the way we see and understand the things Scripture is trying to teach us? Well, we have an example in Scripture to consider in the story of Jesus and the rich young man.
Many of us know this story, and we might even know that Jesus is said to have ‘loved’ this young man. But look at how our understanding of this passage might change if we do not think that Jesus had a warm, affectionate love for this man, but rather, Jesus treated the young man righteously. In the first case, it is easy to miss the point of the passage. But, if we think of Jesus’ love for this man as an ‘act’ or ‘verb,’ rather than a feeling or emotion, then the message becomes more clear. Jesus did not embrace or tolerate the young man’s on-going sin, but rather, Jesus corrected him. He did so as kindly as possible, but Jesus still stood firmly on moral ground and pointed out the wrong in the young man’s life. But Jesus did not stop there. After the young man left, Jesus took the opportunity to teach those who were around Him and told all who would listen what the young man was doing wrong. How many of us would dare to do such a thing today? And yet, we are told that Jesus ‘loved’ this young man.
So, when we hear others urging ‘love,’ perhaps we would be wise to stop and consider what — exactly — is being said. Are we being urged to act righteously toward others as well as ourselves, or are we being urged to do something entirely different? Is it possible that we are actually being urged to do wrong ‘in the name of love?’ Because, honestly, when I look at the way the word, ‘love,’ is used in our society today, I fear this is exactly what is being done. Whether people realize it or not, they may be using the notion of ‘love’ to paper over a call to act immorally, not righteously, and we have all heard it said:
The road to hell is paved with good intentions…
Further reading on this subject:
There is so much about which I would like to write, but I have learned that the majority of it comes from me and not the Lord and His Word. Consequently, I am trying to learn to quiet my own inner voice and wait on the Lord to tell me what I should say to those of you who are listening. I was temporarily successful at doing just that this morning, which is why, when I saw this picture in my Face Book feed today, I heard that small still voice tell me: “There, that is what you are supposed to write about this week!”
When I read Spurgeon’s words, and heard that still, small voice, I felt so ashamed. I had been struggling over what to write because I had been thinking for and in terms of myself and my own wisdom. In my mind, I was trying to find something to say that would edify others, but Spurgeon’s words cut me to the bone and laid bare my self-deception. They convicted me, and made me realize that I was not trying to do the Lord’s will, but my own. It left me feeling totally broken. I felt broken because I realized how far I have left to go in learning to make myself into an instrument the Lord can actually use. There is still so much of myself I have to let go of before I have truly made the Lord my Master. I wonder, how many other believers ever find themselves in this same position?
I follow a lot of other believers, and I read their Face Book posts and their blogs. I read what my mentors have to say about the Lord and His Word. All of them seem to be so sincere, and their words are so helpful. Thinking about them, I remembered that several of you have said similar things about what I write, and it forced me to wonder how my writing and that of the believers I admire might be connected to Spurgeon’s words. It made me wonder whether or not I am a hypocrite? Am I the only one who writes thinking they are doing the Lord’s work only to realize that I have been writing for myself? Or how about the way I live? Are my words and deeds a true witness for the Lord, or have I just been fooling myself into believing they are? And better still, am I the only one who worries about such things? Does worrying about it when so many others seem so sure of themselves mean I am not on solid ground after all? Or does it mean something else? Could it mean the exact opposite?
Am I supposed to constantly question myself, and to examine the true motivation behind the things I do and say? Do I speak and act for me, or for Him? Is that the mark of a true and faithful servant? If it is, then what of all those believers I admire so much who seem so sure of themselves? They never seem to question themselves. Is their self-confidence a sign of true faith, a faith stronger than my own? Or could it be an indication that they still have work to do in emptying themselves of themselves, as well? Is their confidence born of their reliance on the Lord, or on their reliance in themselves? And then, is this something about which I should even be thinking? After all, Christ told us not to judge the heart of others, so is it treading on dangerous ground even to wonder about such things?
Honestly, I worry about this sort of thing a great deal. I worry because I know my Scriptures, and those who know their Scriptures should also know that there are passages that clearly say the opposite of what so many modern believers are taught. For example, the Scriptures never say “Once saved, always saved.” That message simply isn’t in Scripture, yet so many believers are confident in this belief. What the Scriptures do say is that we are saved, being saved and will be saved, and that we are to work out our own salvation, and that we must stick to the narrow path until our race is finished. This suggests that our salvation is a continual, life-long process. Scripture also tells us that the saved will become sons and daughters of God, and brothers and sisters of Christ, but also that to be a son or daughter, brother or sister, we must follow the Lord’s Commands and do the will of the Father. But how many believers are aware of these passages, let alone wonder about what they mean? And what does it mean that they either do not know or do not wonder?
Ultimately, I don’t think we can know the answers to these questions while we are still in the flesh. All we can do is what Scripture pleads with us to do: obey the Father’s Commands as best we can until the day we die and trust in Christ’s sacrifice to save us in the end. But before we can do this, we have to know the Father’s Commands, and then we have to actually live them. That means we have to read the Scriptures and change the way we think, speak and act. Oh, how hard that is to do — mostly because we are all too filled with ourselves and not enough with the Father’s Holy Spirit. This is the struggle every believer must wrestle with: putting down their own desires and doing the will of their Master. You see, if our heart is too full of ourselves, then there isn’t enough room for the Holy Spirit, and without the Holy Spirit, we cannot do the Father’s work. At best, we pretend and put on false pretenses of doing His will, and just look at the mess we believers have made of this world in the process. But think of how different things would be if we were to truly make the Lord our Master. What could we accomplish if we were to empty the temple of ourselves and allow the Lord to take His rightful place in our heart? Then we would truly be filled with His glory, and share in Christ’s inheritance while still here on earth. The Apostles did this and they changed the world. Oh! Just imagine: what work we could do for our Master if we would but let Him guide us instead of trying to do it all our own way!
Brothers and Sisters,
I have a confession to make (and an apology, as well). As some of you have noticed, I stopped blogging some months ago. A few weeks ago, I posted a blog in which I tried to explain why I have been absent. I must beg you to forgive my absence, and that last blog. I wasn’t entirely honest with you in that last blog. I knew then and I know now why I stopped blogging. I have known all along, I just didn’t want to accept it — until now. Now the time has come for me to confess why I stopped writing and to repent of my disobedience. You see, just like Jonah tried to do, I have been trying to run from what the Lord has been telling me to do. And though we may have had different reasons for running, just like Jonah, the Lord is going to force me to do His bidding. In Jonah’s case, he was swallowed by a whale and taken to where the Lord needed him to be. In my case, it is like a fire within, and unless I write what I am told to write, the fire starts to burn hotter and hotter until it literally consumes me. It can get so intense that I cannot eat or sleep until I write what I am told to write. So, my confession is this: I have been avoiding my blogging because the command I have been given is to:
Prepare the remnant for a time of testing and persecution!
For almost a year now, this has been the commandment I have heard from the Lord: Prepare all who will listen for a time of persecution and tribulation on a level we Westerners have not seen in a long, long time. I fear what I know is coming, and I have not wanted to face it. Consequently, I have tried to avoid facing my fears by avoiding what I have been told to do. I can no longer do that. The Lord was gracious, and He gave me time to get ready, but now the fire has started to burn within me once more and I simply must obey. It is for this reason that I am returning to all three of my blogs.
My dear friends, please, do not take my words the wrong way: I am no prophet. A prophet stands in the counsel of the Lord and gets his or her commands directly from the Lord. This is not me. Nor am I worthy to be counted among those godly saints. I am just a wretched sinner who is trying his very best to do what the Lord has commanded him to do. I write the messages I am given and I trust that the Lord makes sure they are seen by whomever He wishes to see them. What happens from that point is not only out of my hands, but it is none of my business. So, with that said, if you are going to continue to follow this or either of my other two blogs, I must warn you: the messages that will follow are not going to tickle your ears. In fact, for the foreseeable future, I suspect they will likely be messages of warning. I just pray that my words will be what He wants them to be, and that they will not fall on deaf ears…
To those who are still with me:
I would like to apologize for my prolonged absence. My home was damaged fairly heavily by hurricane Michael, but, compared to many of my neighbors, we were blessed. If all goes well, we will be moving back in to our house this weekend. We’ll still have a few days of smaller chores to do next week, but, all things considered, the Lord has been far more generous to us than we deserve and we are profoundly grateful. However, even before the storm, I had been going through a time of testing.
As I grow in our faith, I find myself becoming less and less willing to express my opinion on anything. This is because I have started to think less and less of myself and more and more about others. Add this to a growing sense of remorse over the current trends in society and a struggle with the sense of apathy this has created in me toward my fellow man and you can start to understand why I’ve been silent for so long. To be honest, it would be very easy for me to just go away. But there’s the catch: the Lord has made it painfully obvious that He is not going to allow me to stay silent. The fire within has been growing hotter and I am going to have to return to writing or I’ll be consumed from within.
Ultimately, I have to realize that I am not writing for me, I am writing for Him and for those whom my words are meant to help. For my part, this means I need to learn to humble myself and submit to His will. If I were honest, I suppose I should count myself blessed that I am among those who actually knows the sound of His voice, and can tell the difference between His will for me and my own. Still, the fact remains that I do not want to do this anymore. But then, that is one of the reasons I know He wants me to keep writing: because it is something that helps others but I do not want to do. If it were just me and my will, I’d just go away without any after thought..
Anyway, I am going to pray over my blogs and His will for them for the next week or so and then do whatever I feel lead to do. It is very likely this will mean I delete this blog page and write only on The Oyl and The Road to Concord, but I don’t know for sure — yet. Whatever it is I am told to do, I assure you, I will let you know as soon as I know. I just need time to make sure I do His will and not mine. I pray you will understand.
Thank you for waiting on and supporting me. Now, please, just give me a little more time and I know I’ll be back to work.
IF you read this blog, and you do not read The Road To Concord, then the following post is going to be a little out of context for you. For this, I apologize. If you would like to catch up, go to TRTC and search for ‘Richard’ and read the posts that come up in the results.
Richard has done it again, and — once more — I cannot sit and remain silent why this… ‘individual’ maligns the righteous while claiming to be the only one holding the moral high ground. This time, the subject is abortion: specifically, ‘Richard’s’ twisting of Scripture to infer that God is neutral on the subject.
It started this time in a Face Book thread where ‘Richard’ accused me of ‘cherry-picking’ Scriptures to support my positions. ‘Richard’ replied to a comment I made by saying:
Richard Marx Joe, you have no moral ground to stand on supporting the evil that you do. Just as many who have come before you to hate and oppress, you pick verses from The Bible to justify your hate and evil instead of using the holy word to do good and follow the teachings of Jesus. Also Joe, Terry Redding is lying. I never said that God is all for abortion. In fact I told Terry that no one hates abortion more than I do.
Later, while talking to another of Steve’s listeners, ‘Richard’ said this:
Richard Marx Terry, I quoted Exodus 21. It says that if you cause a pregnant woman to lose her baby it’s only murder if the woman dies. This law doesn’t seem to treat the death of the unborn person as a murder. Only if the mother dies is murder suggested. There is no law in the Bible that forbids a woman to abort her child. I’m NOT saying that means abortion is allowed by God in general at all but you and I aren’t God. He may permit it in some situations or he may not in any situation. You and I and everyone can interpret what we think God wants but there is no clear answers in the Bible. Only interpretation.
And ‘Richard’ accuses me of cherry-picking and twisting Scripture!? Well, dear reader, let us have a look at what this passage of Scripture really says:
Exodus 21:22-26 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
22 “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that [a]she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband [b]may demand of him, and he shall pay [c]as the judges decide. 23 But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, [d]bruise for bruise.
Exodus 21:22-26 Amplified Bible (AMP)
22 “If men fight with each other and injure a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely [and the baby lives], yet there is no further injury, the one who hurt her must be punished with a fine [paid] to the woman’s husband, as much as the judges decide. 23 But if there is any further injury, then you shall require [as a penalty] life for life, 24 [a]eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
When we take the time to go look up the Lord’s Word, we find that Exodus 21:22-23 does not say what ‘Richard’ claims it says at all. In fact, it says, if the baby is killed, the person who caused the baby’s death must pay with their life — just as if they had killed an adult. In other words, Scripture treats even the accidental killing of an unborn child as murder.
Now, for those who know ‘Richard,’ there are two things to take away from this:
1 — Always check everything ‘Richard’ says. In every case I have done so, I have found that ‘Richard’ has been… Well, shall we be generous and say, ‘Less than honest?’
2 — When ‘Richard’ claims the Name of Christ, or worse, when he accuses those of us standing on the solid ground of God’s Word of being aligned with Satan, ask yourself this question:
Which one of the people involved is twisting or misusing God’s Word?
If you will check for yourself, I suspect you will find that it is seldom (if ever) the person ‘Richard’ is accusing.
Clearly, ‘Richard’ has intentionally twisted the Lord’s Word (again). I am not going to allow for the possibility that he did not understand this passage. I will not allow for it because he cited it, then misrepresented it by changing what the Scripture actually says. This is an intentional act. Furthermore, ‘Richard’ has repeatedly refused correction; choosing instead to rely on his own word rather than that of the Lord’s. This is why I cannot allow that ‘Richard’ is mistaken: because his actions have shown clear intent over the entire time I’ve known him. Therefore, his actions represent his fruit, and we are commanded to discern according to the fruit of others (mind you: not to judge the heart — but the person’s actions). In this case, ‘Richard’s’ actions have a clear purpose:
1 — To deceive by twisting Scripture (so as)
2 — To defend abortion
3 — While making it appear that he holds the moral high ground and all those who object to him are the ones acting against God’s Word.
Believers, we are called to defend the Truth. We do this by stating what God calls righteous as fact and by speaking out against what God calls unrighteous. We are also told to do this with an agape love for all. This means we speak the Truth and denounce what is false boldly and firmly and without moving — even if it means we are martyred. But we do so without hate, or condemnation in our hearts. Nor do we seek to deceive or use force to get others to accept the Truth. We must never trample the free will of other people. No! Again, we plant ourselves like a tree beside a stream and we refuse to move.
Jeremiah 17:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.
The Lord will do the rest. After all, does His Word not say He will fight for us? Then why would we ever seek to take the sword from His hand?
Exodus 14:14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”
Believers, remember that all those who try to convince you to trust in and rely on government are trying to get you to worship a beast (Daniel is clearly told that beasts represent earthly kingdoms or governments). And that all who seek to use the government to force you to do their will are living by the sword. And all those who would twist the Truth or seek to deceive to get their way are liars. None of this is of the Lord, therefore, believers should not join themselves to any of it. Again, just stand in the Truth — God’s Truth — and trust in Him and Him alone!
Psalm 1 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted.
1 [a]Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example],
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of [b]scoffers (ridiculers).
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.
And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season;
Its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity].
The wicked [those who live in disobedience to God’s law] are not so,
But they are like the chaff [worthless and without substance] which the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand [unpunished] in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord knows and fully approves the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked shall perish.
ADDITIONAL READING: THE SCRIPTURES AND ABORTION