Monday, April 30, 2012

I had a peace about it. Not.

How do you make decisions? Someone asked me the other day how I decide things. I realized I have fallen into using the Christian-ese lingo. One of the phrases I caught myself using is "I was led by God to...".

When I say it I know that I mean that "I decided to..." I should just say that.

Other people wrestle with a decision for a long time, and unable to intuit the correct course of action, they pray and receive an impression. Or they put out a prayer rug or fleece and get a sign via internal urge.

I've never done those things (I have prayed but not been led by an impression, or at least when I felt an impression, or had a leading thought, I did not base my decision on it.) A lot of times my internal impressions are likely from satan, lol.

Other times I hear people say, after they 'were led', "I know it is from God because I had a peace about it." I always used to wonder about that, because I rarely have a peace about my big decisions. I have certainty. But not peace. It is scary to move half a country start a new make new leave your home church. It is nerve-wracking to witness to a hostile person. I rarely have peace about those things. But when the time comes to do them, I am certain, and thus, I do them.

Jonah had peace about his decision to flee God's will. He actually curled up in the bottom of the boat and went to sleep, while the crew was being tossed and throwing freight and ballast over to save the ship. Having peace about a decision is not a reliable indicator. Ananias and Sapphira likely had peace about their decision to withhold some of the proceeds of the sale of their real estate, at least, they did it without a second thought and Sapphira calmly lied to Peter. But that peace was not the right kind of peace either. (Acts 5)

I was always troubled by these things, fearing maybe I wasn't 'doing it right' with regard to my decision making. Then I heard this question put to John MacArthur- "What is your perspective on the belief that the Holy Spirit leads us by nudging us or whispering to us or giving us dreams, things like that?"  and he answered this way:

JOHN: Well, I think the Holy Spirit does lead us but there is no way to perceive that that’s happening. Right? ... I don’t have a red light that goes on on my head and it goes around and around and around when the Holy Spirit’s leading. I don’t know when the Holy Spirit’s leading. I don’t know when I’m just following my impulses or my desires or whatever. I have no mechanism to know that. But in retrospect I see that. And I categorize that in the providences of God."

"I just put that in the providence…my life is just one amazing act of divine providence after another, after another, after another, after another, after another, every single day of my life unfolds in ways that are so well planned by the divine mind that I…I’m in, you know, a sort of exhilaration day after day after day over what happens in my life. So I don’t know when the Spirit is leading at the time. The Spirit is leading…I can say, “You know, I think I ought to go preach over there.” I do that every day, you know. Friday they brought like, I don’t know, a big list of people who want me to come and speak and what did I do? Did I, you know, begin to go into some kind of mantra and say, “Ohm….” And see if I can induce the Holy Spirit to know what to do? No. I just look at it and say, “Well, I can’t do that. I don’t think I can do that. That wouldn’t be a priority. Maybe I should do that. And you know what happens if I just am open and want to do God’s will, it’s amazing how in retrospect I can look back and say, “Wow, it was absolutely critical that I be there because look what happened when I got there, and this happened and that led to this, and this led to that.” That’s how my whole life has unfolded. So there’s no mechanism that we possess that tells us at the moment when the Holy Spirit is leading us and in some supernatural way. But that in retrospect we will be able to discern by the providences of God that unfold."

Right! In your decisions, do right by Jesus and do right by our family, and moving forward by logically weighing evidence and proceeding with maturity, and God will take care of all the rest. I look back on my decisions and they have all been good. Either they were wrong but made good by God or they were good and He was leading me but I didn't have the advantage of having whispers or impressions to know that at the time. His providence!

"Divine providence is the means by and through which God governs all things in the universe. The doctrine of divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. This includes the universe as a whole (Psalm 103:19), the physical world (Matthew 5:45), the affairs of nations (Psalm 66:7), human birth and destiny (Galatians 1:15), human successes and failures (Luke 1:52), and the protection of His people (Psalm 4:8)." (source)

Gary Friesen said in his book, Decision Making and the Will of God-- "Impressions are real; believers experience them. But impressions are not authoritative. Impressions are impressions. Inner impressions are not a form of revelation, so the bible does not invest impressions with authority to function as indicators of Divine guidance. Impressions are real. Believers experience them. But impressions are not authoritative.”

If a person looks to their impressions, whispers, or nudges, then they are looking to something that is not only NOT authoritative, but is deceitful and corrupt!

Gary Gilley states,  “Psalm 19 teaches us there are two sources of revelation, from nature (vv. 1-6) and from Scripture (vv. 7-14). The “general revelation” of nature, while speaking boldly of the glory of God, still has serious limitations. Romans 1:20 confirms that nature is capable of revealing to mankind the eternal power and divine nature of God; therefore even those who know nothing of Jesus Christ are without excuse when they reject God. But general revelation is incapable of exposing a multitude of things including Jesus Christ, the Cross, grace, eternal life and on and on. For such things we need the “specific revelation” of Scripture. …"

There is general revelation by nature and specific revelation by the bible, and nothing in between like impressions, urgings, or whispers.

Even the famous evangelist George Whitefield "mistook fancy for faith and imagination for revelation" when going forward by impression rather than scripture. He had prophesied that his pregnant wife would bear a son, and that the son would grow up to become a famous preacher. Whitefield did have a son, but unfortunately the child died at 4 months old. That is when Whitefield told Jonathan Edwards that he mistook fancy for revelation. (source, book Jonathan Edwards, by Iain Murray, pp. 240-42)

Precious brethren, inner impressions are bubbling up through our fleshly filter of putrid sin, a sin nature, and corruption. Ick! Who would want to make a decision based on that muck! I refute the logic and the method of Bill Hybels' whispers, especially when Hybels says "Without a hint of exaggeration, the ability to discern divine direction has saved me from a life of sure boredom and self-destruction.' In [Hybels' book] The Power of a Whisper, vision is cast for what life can look like when God's followers choose to hear from heaven as they navigate life on earth. Whispers that arbitrate key decisions, nudges that rescue from dark nights of the soul, promptings that spur on growth, urgings that come by way of another person, inspiration that opens once-glazed-over eyes..."

Mike Feazell said it better, much better when he said,

"Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the godly freedom to say: “Lord, I’ve got several paths before me, and based on all the facts as I understand them, here’s what I think I should probably do. Please have mercy on me as I enter into this. As you well know Lord I know I am often a moron. I know that in my need You have always been there. And I know you'll see me through this too. Just please don't make the bumps If there’s something I’m missing here, would you show me before it’s too late? And if I miss the cue, then please have mercy on me, a sinner and a frequent dumbbell. And one more thing, if this is a trap door instead of an open door, would you mind not letting go of my hand until I get back to where I ought to be? Thanks. Amen.”

Don't look for a sign or a whisper or a nudge or urgings. Trust God. "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." (Proverbs 16:9). Even though you can't hear or tell He is directing you, He IS. Appealing to your inner impressions is the same as appealing to yourself. His providence has you in the palm of His hand...therefore trust!

"I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved." (Psalms 16:8)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stuck with Pharaoh, we long for Solomon

I notice a pattern in the news stories about American politics. At the risk of being too America-centric with respect to applying prophetic indicators, let me say for the record that though the news excerpts below are about the American President, this by no stretch means that these indicators are absent from other global rulers.

Indeed, we have seen what fury the people participating in the Arab Spring/Days Of Rage wrought on Libya's Qaddafi, Egypt's Mubarak, and other rulers in Africa and the Middle East. We saw how nervous the kings of Bahrain and Jordan became during that revolutionary time. The Bahraini king even gave a large sum of money to each family in his kingdom to calm them down and to buy time. We see the population's discontent with the (sexual) excesses of Italy's Berlusconi, and that France's Sarkozy, while apparently not as excessive or oppressive, will possibly lose his runoff election this weekend due to the faltering economy.

That said, I have noticed, as you no doubt have noticed, the US leadership veering drunkenly toward excess of spending, of regulation, and of uncaring attitude toward the people. You have heard, no doubt, of the unfortunate plethora of stories where bureaucrats close down lemonade stands, rip up front yard gardens, stop garage sales. Yet those in power like Michele Obama take 17 vacations in three years and seems to have forgotten the concept of public service. But they sure do remember how to have date night. Rep. Pelosi co-opts military airplanes for trips back home. Obama parties like it's no tomorrow.

The bible has much to say about leaders who fail to honor God and help the people. The bible is replete with events, warnings, and punishments of kings and rulers who oppress the people they are supposed to govern wisely.

Verses like this one in Leviticus 19:13 are echoed throughout the pages of the Scriptures: “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning."

But the leaders, kings, and rulers of today continue to seemingly prosper, while pressing their thumb of power ever deeper into our lives and ripping out what valuables they can to continue to support their lavish and wanton spending. Though it is bad now, this kind of power abuse will be rampant in the Tribulation because the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit will cease His restraint of sin, and it will blossom like mold on a gushy banana. (Revelation 18:3- "For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.")

James 5:4 says "Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts." Revelation 6 shows the poor working all day for a loaf of bread but in Revelation 18 the ultra rich continued their trade in ivory, spices, furniture, even the souls of men throughout the Tribulation.

The gap between the rich and poor continues to grow even now, the rulers increasingly deaf to the cries to stop spending, and the love of many even in the faith waxes cold for the brother. (Matthew 24:12). Our governments are increasingly interested in the peons like us rather than solving the problems we elected them to solve. They regulate us to death and scurry off to enjoy a sexcapade or a luxurious vacation and have forgotten how to govern righteously. We are plagued with Pharaohs and enduring a famine of Solomons.

"A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding, But he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days." (Proverbs 28:16).

Take this example of unhealthy governmental interest in a person's private life:

Blogger faces jail time over nutrition blog
"It’s the sort of story you expect to come from a third world superstitious kleptopcracy – yet it happened here on American soil, in North Carolina, thanks to good old fashioned state-level bureaucracy. Reason Magazine brings us the bizarre and senseless story of a Steve Cooksey, a former diabetic who put himself on the popular “Paleo” diet and decided to tell the world about his experiences, only to have the North Carolina Board of Dietetics and Nutrition (yes, that exists) come down on him: This past January the state diatetics and nutrition board decided Cooksey’s blog — — violated state law. The nutritional advice Cooksey provides on the site amounts to “practicing nutrition,” the board’s director says, and in North Carolina that’s something you need a license to do. Unless Cooksey completely rewrites his 3-year-old blog, he could be sued by the licensing board. If he loses the lawsuit and refuses to take down the blog, he could face up to 120 days in jail. The board’s director says Cooksey has a First Amendment right to blog about his diet, but he can’t encourage others to adopt it unless the state has certified him as a dietitian or nutritionist."

Government is protecting us from our opinions. How thoughtful. Or this terrible example:

Barack Obama attempts to intimidate contributors to Mitt Romney's campaign
"Try this thought experiment: You decide to donate money to Mitt Romney. You want change in the Oval Office, so you engage in your democratic right to send a check. Several days later, President Barack Obama, the most powerful man on the planet, singles you out by name. His campaign brands you a Romney donor, shames you for "betting against America," and accuses you of having a "less-than-reputable" record. The message from the man who controls the Justice Department (which can indict you), the SEC (which can fine you), and the IRS (which can audit you), is clear: You made a mistake donating that money. Are you worried?"

"Richard Nixon's "enemies list" appalled the country for the simple reason that presidents hold a unique trust. Unlike senators or congressmen, presidents alone represent all Americans. Their powers—to jail, to fine, to bankrupt—are also so vast as to require restraint. Any president who targets a private citizen for his politics is de facto engaged in government intimidation and threats. This is why presidents since Nixon have carefully avoided the practice. Save Mr. Obama, who acknowledges no rules. This past week, one of his campaign websites posted an item entitled "Behind the curtain: A brief history of Romney's donors." In the post, the Obama campaign named and shamed eight private citizens who had donated to his opponent. Describing the givers as all having "less-than-reputable records," the post went on to make the extraordinary accusations that "quite a few" have also been "on the wrong side of the law" and profiting at "the expense of so many Americans."

Rather than knowing that they exist to lead, to govern, to inspire, to serve, the President and other rulers today oppress, indict, and steal. Nice, Obama. Nice. Yet is his own house in order? No.

Secret Service scandal: 'Party's over, boys'"
The Secret Service scandal involving prostitutes in Colombia has brought new orders about personal behavior – no more carousing. On some trips, agents will even have chaperones."

Now think about this for a second. The Secret Service men who are trained to devote their life to the highest official in the land, who define self-sacrifice by committing to hurl themselves in front of a bullet, have to be chaperoned like two year olds in a candy store so they won't hurl themselves in front of a prostitute? Whatever happened to self-possession?

"For a prostitute is a deep pit; an adulteress is a narrow well." Proverbs 23:27
"For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure." Proverbs 11:14
"Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross." Proverbs 26:23

Blue-collar voter resentment building over Obama vacations?
"Blue collar Democratic voters, stuck taking depressing “staycations” because they can’t afford gas and hotels, are resentful of the first family’s 17 lavish vacations around the world and don’t want their tax dollars paying for the Obamas’ holidays, according to a new analysis of swing voters. …McLaughlin handled blue collar and Catholic voters in Pittsburgh on April 3 and Cleveland on March 20. He found that they are very depressed about the economy and feel that their tax dollars are being sucked up by both the rich and those living on government assistance."

The bible says of kings, "But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself." (Deut 17:16-17).

The Deuteronomy verse expressly forbids kings to excess. Barnes Notes says "Excess is forbidden. Vast accumulation of treasure could hardly be effected without oppression; nor when effected fail to produce pride and a "trust in uncertain riches" 1 Timothy 6:17." Kings were forbidden to use their office to heap up riches for themselves.

In the bible, there are hapless kings, apathetic kings, and kings who not only do not believe and who are sinful through and through, but who actively campaign against God. Pharaoh was such a one. Jezebel was such a one. Ahab was one too. The progression of evil kings always got worse. The next generation was worse than the one before, and so it is today. We started with Washington, Jefferson, Adams. We end up with Nixon, Clinton, Obama...

"Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed--and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors--and they have no comforter." Ecclesiastes 4:1

So what shall become of them? Amos 5 & 6 speaks to the Day of the Lord when He deals with the unrighteous rulers who oppressed the people. They "... trample on the poor and force him to give you grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine." (Amos 5:11).

"You put off the evil day and bring near a reign of terror. You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambsand fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end." (Amos 6:3-7)

Of these Amos versesJohn MacArthur teaches, "God really indicts the rich, not because just they're rich, but because they have become rich at the expense of the poor."

As for us brethren, especially those in either civic or ecclesiastical positions of leadership, "So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober." (1 Thessalonians 5:6). The word sober there in Greek is nepho, "to be sober, unintoxicated" refers to having presence of mind & clear judgment, enabling someone to be self-controlled.

Apparently at the highest levels of power self-control is a thing of the past. That is what makes the Christian stand out as light and salt. (Mt 5:13-16)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Anti-bullying speaker bullies Christian teens at event

Anti-Bullying Speaker Curses Christian Teens
"As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after an anti-bullying speaker began cursing, attacked the Bible and reportedly called those who refused to listen to his rant “pansy assed." ... Savage was supposed to be delivering a speech about anti-bullying at the National High School Journalism Conference sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. But it turned into an episode of Christian-bashing. “I thought this would be about anti-bullying,” Tuttle told Fox news. “It turned into a pointed attack on Christian beliefs.”

It gets worse from there. If you want to read what Mr Savage said and how it was responded to by his sponsoring organizations, click on the link.

What is sad for me is that this was a forum for teen reporters. Teenagers...mocked, bullied, and called names, by an adult. Rather than being ashamed of his behavior in front of children, rather than apologizing for his screed that offended teens, Savage hurled scorn on them as they left and was supported by his organizations, needling the kids as the ones in the wrong and for failing to stay because "it's important to be able to listen to speech that offends you"...

I know this verse from Ephesians 6:4 is targeted to actual fathers and their biological/adoptive children, but I dare to say we can widen it to apply here, even as a warning in general:

"And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord".

 "Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged." (Colossians 3:21)

 Is Mr Savage a father? An Uncle? Would he feel satisfied knowing someone had entered a place where children were gathered, including his own, and hurled insults directly at them for their beliefs?

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 18:10

Friday, April 27, 2012

Deepwater Horizon and the deformed Gulf Shrimp

My favorite dinner used to be a cold beer and chilled Gulf shrimp with cocktail sauce. My favorite place to eat this dish used to be Florida, preferably Naples or Key West. I no longer drink alcohol and now it seems I will no longer eat Gulf Shrimp.

Remember the BP Macondo Well/Deepwater Horizon oil platform explosion that occurred two years ago this week? It is the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

Source: Wikipedia
The oil gushed into the Gulf for three months, spilling about 5 million barrels of oil into the blue waters of the Gulf,  and still seeps today. Now that's got to affect the marine life, wouldn't you think? Despite assurances that it wouldn't? Of course. Shrimp in particular are first indicators of ecosystem shift. In other words, if something bad is happening, it'll show up in the shrimp first.

Gulf shrimp this season are showing up eyeless, with tumors, deformed and toxic. Read more here and here. With photos. Pass the tofu, please.

Fukushima: one year later

Speaking of ecological disasters, how is Fukushima Daiichi doing? After the 9.0 mega-earthquake and devastating tsunami off Japan last March, the nuclear reactor at Fukushima prefecture was damaged. It had equipment failure, nuclear meltdowns, and radiation and cesium release. It was the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl, and some say that Fukushima is worse. Let's follow up with how the reactor is doing.

Huffington Post reports today: "More than a year after a tsunami swamped the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plants, the radiation peril continues -- reactor 4 is teetering on the edge of collapse, which would force the evacuation of one-third of Japan's population. The meltdown at Fukushima parallels the meltdown of the US economy."

And it is far from over, reports HuffPo. "More than a year after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster began, the news media is just beginning to grasp that the dangers to Japan and the rest of the world are far from over."

Senator Wyden of Oregon recently visited the area. He sent the Japanese Ambassador a follow-up letter. Though the tone of the letter is polite, this news headline says it like it is:

Senator Wyden: Fukushima Worse Than Reported
"Japan, with assistance from the U.S. government, needs to do more to move spent fuel rods out of harm's way at the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said U.S. Senator Ron Wyden on Monday. Wyden, a senior Democratic senator on the Senate Energy committee, toured the ruined Fukushima plant on April 6, and said the damage was far worse than he expected. "Seeing the extent of the disaster first-hand during my visit conveyed the magnitude of this tragedy and the continuing risks and challenges in a way that news accounts cannot," said Wyden in a letter to Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan's ambassador to the United States."

One official from Japan is also being blunt.

"Japan’s former Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Mitsuhei Murata, was invited to speak at the Public Hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 22, 2012, on the Fukushima nuclear power plants accident. Before the Committee, Ambassador Murata strongly stated that if the crippled building of reactor unit 4—with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground—collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4. In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel; dangerously, they are open to the air. This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced." (source)

The amount of Cesium-137 laying around in pools "would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival."

An extinction level event. The conspiracy theorists would feel vindicated over that.

Sun UFO: what WAS that thing?

SOHO watchers spotted something near the sun the other day. LiveScience opens their article about it like this:

"UFO hunters have spotted a curious object near the sun in a new NASA image. It is, in the words of a blogger for the website Gather, "what looks like a metallic, jointed spaceship with a gigantic extension, perhaps a boom arm, anchored off its lower end." The YouTube video drawing attention to the object has quickly made its way to discussion forums and the tabloid press, and many seasoned UFO believers are calling it a definite "spot.""

I'll get back to the LiveScience article after a minute. Here is the UK Daily Mail's treatment of the sight (UK Daily Mail is more tabloid and thus less restricted in their willingness to theorize and use hyperbole)

"A strange object flying close to the sun looks unnervingly like a huge, metallic 'mothership' familiar from Hollywood blockbusters. The picture was released by Nasa's sun-watching Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, known as SOHO - and has become an immediate cult hit on the internet. ... ‘The unidentified flying object, which bears no resemblance to anything ever spotted near the Sun, somehow manages to withstand the blazing heat thrown off by solar flare activity and the incredibly high temperatures emanating from nuclear fusion generated on the surface of the star. What is it?' asked the site."

An enlargement of the object makes the enormously
large UFO look like a ship straight out of a Hollywood movie
Above, UK Daily Mail included a movie fictional alien spacecraft to compare
‘There is no way this object is merely vapour, as the shape of it is rigidly straight and grooved and appears to be manufactured in some way,' says the UFO fan site. 'Also, there seems to be some intelligent design involved. It's beyond human engineering to create.'

the LiveScience site has an explanation: "According to Nathan Rich, lead ground systems engineer in the NRL's (US Naval Research Lab] solar physics branch, the "spaceship" is merely a collection of streaks left by cosmic rays, charged particles from space, which whizzed through the camera's sensor, or CCD, as the image was taken. "The streaks in question are consistent with energetic particle (proton) impacts on the CCD, something which is apparent in just about every image," Rich told Life's Little Mysteries."

Ah! So it's lens flare. Conspiracy theorists will get a kick out of that.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Midway Airport: Twitterverse, Patient Zero and the Zombie Apocalypse

I've been watching a situation blossom for the last 20 minutes. The first tweets came over the boards from @SteveGrzanich, afternoon anchor/reporter @WBBMNewsradio, @CBSChicago. Steve tweeted

-- Stand by for breaking news... we're about to go to Chopper 780 for a situation developing at Midway Airport.

--Delta Airlines flight lands at Midway and is surrounded by fire department personnel. Potential health emergency.

--Chopper 780 says fire crews have surrounded the Delta Airlines flight but crews have not boarded the flight and no one is coming offw/passenger.

--The Delta flight at Midway is under quarantine. A source says the flight may have originated in Africa.

--Patient has been in flight for 24 hours according to source...who says the patient has a rash.

--Centers for Disease Control responding.

--The passenger on the Delta flight at Midway may have changed planes in Detroit.

--We've identified the's Delta 3163. Chopper 780 images show plane with door open and surrounded by ambulances.

--Door on the Delta Flight had been's now closed. UPDATE: @CDC confirms to @WBBMNewsradio it is investigating "contagious situation" on Delta flight 3163.

The patient was removed and after one hour the entire quarantine appears to be over.

While it was going on, it took precisely 10 minutes for someone to tweet about the zombie apocalypse, and another 5 minutes for Patient Zero to be mentioned. ["Zombie Apocalypse-- intimately tied to the conception of the modern zombie is the "zombie apocalypse", the breakdown of society as a result of zombie infestation, which has emerged as a prolific subgenre of apocalyptic fiction"].  Mentions of the movie Contagion were made. Ubiquitously. And someone else tweeted "This is legit scary" and he is right. It is pretty scary.

We know that the Tribulation will come with all kinds of horrors. Jesus said, "There will be pestilences." (Luke 21:11). Some won't be revealed as a horror until it is too late. Someone could pass a contagious disease and not know it until it appears as a rash as this case apparently did. However in this case CBS is saying that the passenger had bug bites, not a communicable disease. [I know that there are many people who will refuse to believe what a government agency says regarding a situation with potentially communicable disease...because, they say, the government will lie to prevent panic...but I simply report the news from the authoritative sources and leave the rest up to you].

How will pestilence begin when it DOES begin? A flight from Ghana and a patient with a rash...who'd changed planes in Detroit? It is a likely and logical scenario. When it does begin, it will probably begin just like that. And it is scary.

Revelation 15 shows us the final plagues. "Chapter 15 is introductory and prepares the reader for the execution of the judgments described in chapter 16. They are first described as the seven last plagues and then as seven bowls full of the wrath of God (vs. 7; 16:1). These seven plagues will chronologically bring to an end the ordered events of the Tribulation judgments in a dramatic crescendo. The plagues described here are extremely severe and occur in rapid succession, which adds greatly to their severity. The plagues are culminated by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the final phase of Armageddon. The purpose of chapter 15 is a vindication of God’s holiness. It shows these judgments stem from the holiness of God and the perfection of His plan." (

But Jesus protects His bride and will remove us before judgments fall. And you know, the zombie apocalypse is not far off from the truth. Those who are not in Jesus are the walking dead, dead in their sins (Col 2:13, Eph 2:1). They're not dead bodily, but spiritually...and when we are in Christ He makes us come alive. (Eph 2:5). I'm alive in Christ! Are you?

Morning praise

I live in a pretty area, one that the Lord led me to 6 years ago. He asked me to leave all I had ever done, all the people I had ever known, and all the scenery that I had ever seen, and move to Georgia. I said "OK."

I drive through pretty areas on my way to work. I pass a barn, and pastures, and see cows and colts and foals and lambs. I see green fields with waving hay and eagles and heather and pine trees. It is quiet and there's little traffic. If there are 4 cars at the four-way stop sign it's a jam. I sing and pray and praise Him the entire way. Every day.

He chose to re-make my life for me here. It is a better life than I would have had if I had remained, I see that now. He knows what is best. Bless You, Lord. May Your will be done.

This morning, I was thinking the thoughts I write below. I hope you sing and pray and praise Him for all His works in the world and for what He does in your life, too. He is wonderful gracious, and loving. He is our Savior and our God.

The seasons He ordained progress their rounds in the calendar

The birds gather much more will He provide His children?

He causes the supernovas to explode, and the gnats to fly.
He causes the sequoias to grow, and amoebas to divide.

He is greater than all that is in the world.
Let praises of His holy name ring throughout
the universe from end to end.

And even then, He is greater than all.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Backsliding Baptists muddy waters of gay marriage issue

Dr. David P. Gushee's bio on Wikipedia states he is an historian, ethicist, public intellectual, and professor dealing primarily with ethical issues and Christian thought. Gushee is the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University, and was formerly the Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy and the Senior Fellow of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Gushee also serves as the president of Evangelicals for Human Rights, an organization advocating for an end to torture, especially that sponsored by the United States government. Additionally, he is a columnist for Christianity Today and the Associated Baptist Press.

For all that, here is some news about something he said and did recently- this is from the Associated Baptist Press--

Gushee: Covenant best model for sexual relationship
"The co-convener of a conference on sexuality and covenant said April 20 that long-term committed relationships are the best model for Christians struggling to make sense of changing morals about sex."

Don't get excited. It sounds good. But it is not good. Read on.

"I believe that covenant is a, if not the, single best way that has emerged in the great Christian tradition to talk about what we are supposed to do with our sexuality, and for that matter, our relationality,” said David Gushee, an ethics professor at Mercer University, co-sponsor with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of the April 19-21 conference at First Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga."

Still don't know why I'm disappointed? He hasn't said MARRIAGE yet. Read on.

"Gushee defined covenant as a “voluntarily entered sacred pact between two persons and between those two persons and the God to whom both are committed.” OH NO! Why, you ask? Because he said 'two persons'. Not "man and woman." Read on:

"Gushee said he doesn’t think the main issue facing the church today is which groups of people are to be viewed as eligible to make covenants. “The main issue is to rescue the very practice of covenant before it disappears forever, not only in society but in our own house,” he said."

BAD BAD BAD. He wants to 'rescue" covenants (like God needs human help with maintaining covenants) but declines to specify who is eligible to enter them. However the bible is clear on who is eligible to enter the type of covenant he is talking about, marriage. It is a man and a woman. The Bible condemns homosexuality as an immoral and unnatural sin. Leviticus 18:22 identifies homosexual sex as an abomination, a detestable sin. Romans 1:26-27 declares homosexual desires and actions to be shameful, unnatural, lustful, and indecent. Defining "which groups" are eligible to enter sexual covenant is not a necessary endeavor for today's Christian because it already has been defined for us. All we need to do is proclaim the truth and obey it. Failing that and instead focusing on the covenant and not the people in the covenant is a backwards approach that leaves out Jesus.

First Corinthians 6:9 states that homosexuals are unrighteous and will not inherit the kingdom of God. it stands to reason that a sacred covenental relationship between same genders would be entering a sinful relationship and not approved by God. That Gushee declined to specify that, thereby proclaiming less than the whole counsel of God, is a severe disappointment.

The Baptist Standard covered the conference this way--:

 Christians lack consensus on sexual ethics, speaker tells conference
"Christians no longer share a consensus that sex outside of marriage is always wrong and must find new ways to deal with that reality besides splitting into smaller and smaller groups over issues like homosexuality and contraception, a keynote speaker said April 19 in the opening session of a [Baptist] Conference on Sexuality and Covenant co-sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Mercer University’s Center for Theology and Public Life. ... David Gushee, head of Mercer’s Center for Theology and Public Life, said the university was happy to co-sponsor the event because of its long identity as a Baptist institution and interest “in promoting dialogue about an important and sensitive issue that some people would be afraid to host a dialogue about.” Gushee said his center normally deals with public policy issues, but in this case cordoned off that part of the discussion to make it easier to have conversation. He said the conference still could have implications for public policy if it demonstrates that people really can discuss a sensitive issue like sexuality constructively and with respect."

Here is the perspective on "dialogue". I've always been interested in language, and how language, particularly through media, influences the mind. How it can clarify or obfuscate. The Emergent Church penchant for insisting on 'respectful dialogue' is part of the tactic of obfuscation. It brings muddiness to the clarity of scripture and it is simply a defense mechanism for satan to deflect dogmatic truth.

I posted a blog entry a short while ago titled "It's 2012 and homosexuality is still a sin" as a jab at emergent post-modern culture that says we have to get with the times and dialogue about these points to see whether they are still relevant. I have an answer for you. They are still relevant. End of dialogue.

As a result of my interest in how language is used or misused, the emergent church, and John MacArthur's solidly biblical sermons, I've heard just about everything MacArthur has said or written on the subject. Here is his explanation of the tendency toward dialogue in his essay "The perspicuity of scripture"

He wrote- "A new movement is now arising in evangelical circles. Apparently, the main object of attack will be the perspicuity of Scripture. Influenced by postmodern notions about language, meaning, subjectivity, and truth, many younger evangelicals are questioning whether the Word of God is clear enough to justify certainty or dogmatism on points of doctrine. Ironically, this new movement to a certain extent ignores all the previous debates. Instead, its proponents are more interested in dialogue and conversation. As a result, they scorn and rebuff propositional truth (which tends to end dialogue rather than cultivate it) as an outmoded vestige of twentieth-century modernism."

He's right. Proclamation tends to shut them up. There is no debating God.

Peter said that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison, (1 Peter 3:19) and the word preached means proclaimed. The Greek word is kērýssō ("to herald") and refers to preaching the Gospel as the authoritative (binding) word of God, bringing eternal accountability to all who hear it. (Strong's Concordance).

Do you really believe that scripture is so unclear about what's a sin that we need to have endless discussion as to whether marriage is meant for life between a man and a woman under God or can be included to mean two men for whatever period of time as their lust brings them together? If so, do you believe that when Jesus descended to prison to speak with the demon spirits, He said "Let's promote a dialogue about an important and sensitive issue that some people would be afraid to host a dialogue about. And I promise to be respectful”?? NO. He proclaimed GOD's RIGHTEOUSNESS. His death & resurrection meant He triumphed over death, over hell and over sin, sin that includes homosexuality!

I'm really disappointed in the Baptist segment of our denomination that is behaving this way. Failing to stand on the word of God as authoritative and binding means one is actually standing on a house of sand. And we all know what happens when the storm comes. “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Note the last line of the parable. "Great was its fall." The Greek word defines 'great' as megas, "large, as in the widest sense." Jesus is saying that unless you stand on His word as the foundation, your fall will be so great it couldn't be any greater!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Petra the Sheepfold

I wrote about Petra once before, here. This is an excerpt of that blog essay.

Petra is also known as Sela, both of which means rock. The rose red city of Petra in Jordan is referred to in Judges 1:36; Isaiah 16:1, Is 42:11; Obad. 3 where Petra is known as the "cleft in the rock". Petra is also known as Bozrah, which means sheepfold. Sheepfold or sheep pen is an enclosure designed with overhangs or other protection from the elements, and is solid enough to keep the sheep in and the wild animals out. It always has one narrow gate for entry. Bozrah is the perfect sheepfold! Our Shepherd Jesus will protect His remnant during the Great Tribulation at Bozrah, the sheepfold, the Cleft in the Rock.

It is there He returns at the Second Coming and becomes stained with blood of the armies attempting to wipe out the remnant, and leads them to victory at Mt. Olive. (Photo source above)

God's Vengeance on the Nations
"Who is this who comes from Edom, With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? "It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save." Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? "I have trodden the wine trough alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me I also trod them in My anger And trampled them in My wrath; And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My raiment." (Isaiah 63:1-3)

Jews during the Great Tribulation are told by Jesus in Revelation 12:6 "Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days." In Matthew 24:15-16 He tells them when they see the Abomination of Desolation to to flee to the mountains. The only place where there are mountains across the desert is toward Jordan and to Petra.

In that Day, two-thirds of the Jews will be killed during the Tribulation. One-third survives. (Zechariah 13:8). That one-third had fled to the mountains at Petra and there they are protected, but it is also there that they finally repent and clamor for the Messiah, Jesus. (Zechariah 12:10). Now let's fast forward our imaginations to that terrible time, and envision the Jews who are now Christians, repentant and supplicating to Jesus, nourished by him, His sheep finally returned to the fold. Look at the picture below and imagine the worship services that will be happening in that Day!

Imagine, being nourished by the very providence of God! As they were once nourished by the quail and the manna in the desert, so again will the remnant be nourished in the desert, His sheep protected by the sheepfold at Bozrah throughout the latter half of the Tribulation!

He is a God who cares for His people, He prepares places for us. And that is a mighty thing indeed. Hallelujah to the One True and Mighty God!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Volcanoes are becoming very active: data and discussion

For those of you interested in volcanoes, here is some data.
In the last month, the news stories regarding weather have revolved around tornadoes, hail, and quakes. Now it's volcanoes.

I wrote a blog essay a while ago showing my interpretation of the Revelation 6:12 verse, "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;" It is called "Of volcanoes, dry fog, and sun as sackcloth". In that blog essay, I posted some examples of what sackcloth looks like. When volcanoes explode, the ash circles the atmosphere and the sun's rays are dimmed, and what rays do emit through the haze look hairy instead of beamy.

Volcanic ash has the same effect on the sun as described in the Revelation verse. The Byzantine historian Procopius recorded of 536, in his report on the wars with the Vandals, "during this year a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness...and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear." That event is thought to have been caused by an extensive atmospheric dust veil, possibly resulting from a large volcanic eruption in the tropics." The resulting weather changes and attendant devastation on plant and human life is called "Volcanic Winter".

The science magazine Wired has a great article about volcanic winter in our recent past, one that happened in the 1700s (that Ben Franklin wrote about) and one that occurred in the 1800s. In the article, it states, "The cloud of ash that was fine and light enough to stay in the atmosphere circled the globe. Average temperatures dropped as much as 5 degrees Fahrenheit over the next year ... and beyond. Many Europeans and North Americans called 1816 the "year without a summer."

In Gray, Maine where I used to live it was indeed called the year without a summer. The bad weather of winter 1815 continued with heavy frosts in August and snowfalls every month of the year in 1816. It became known as “The Year without a Summer” or “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death”. Scientists now believe the cause was the eruption of a volcano, Mt. Tambora, in Indonesia. On its first day of eruption, it spewed 2 cubic miles of magma into the atmosphere. The next day it spewed 36 cubic miles of rock and ash into the air. This eruption was the largest in nearly 2000 years and spewed massive quantities of ash into the atmosphere which impacted the climate in the summer of 1816.

The Egypt Road was said to have been named so by people in East Raymond ME who used the road to come to Gray to get seed corn in the spring of 1817. One section of town was lucky to have its corn crop survive in 1816. This was said to have been due to the fact that the hill where the corn grew was high, and prevailing winds scoured the frost before it could settle. Seed corn was given to some Raymond citizens. They named the road they took “Egypt Road” since they were remembering the deliverance from Joseph to the starving masses. (Genesis 41:49; 56)

Over the year after the eruption, the largest famine in the 19th century impacted the northeast, maritime Canada, and northern Europe. The famine was deadly. This weather report from the July 10th Eastern Argus news of Portland ME is typical: "The weather is yet remarkable! On Monday night last a smart frost was experienced in a number of towns in this vicinity—it was confined principally to low ground."

We know that in the Tribulation, geologic changes occur which eventually change the face of the earth. Quakes are so severe that entire islands disappear. We got a taste of that last March when the Japan quake occurred, which was a 9.0 magnitude. The whole island was jogged 8 feet to the right, and the whole planet was jigged off its axis by 4 inches. One thing people rarely connect are the drastic changes that occur with climate in a volcanic winter. Atmospheric changes which lead to temperature changes which lead to reduced or failing crops which leads to wars to obtain the remaining food which leads to famine which leads to death which leads to read Revelation 6:1-8 and you see this progression The world's volcanoes are really waking up.

This first story is very ominous. 20 million people would be affected. And though we can't ever really predict when a volcano will erupt, that the Mexican government is actively warning people to prepare an evacuation route shows how seriously they take the situation...

Popocatepetl Volcano Threatening to Erupt, 19 Million Prepare to Evacuate
"The Popocatepetl volcano is making movement and threatening to erupt, causing Mexican officials to raise the alert level from yellow phase three to yellow phase two.The volcano has already begun spewing red-hot bits of rock, and its opening has expanded. These are signs that the volcano, still quite active, could soon erupt. In a statement by Mexico's National Center for Disaster Prevention, the volcano could produce "moderate exhalations, some with ash, sporadic low to moderate explosions with likely burning fragments, and flaming magma within the crater. "Residents and tourists have been advised to remain at least seven miles away from the volcano's base, lest magma or hot rock injure anyone. Mexico has been experiencing natural disasters with increasing frequency."

President Calderon said, "we have taken steps and we are doing even more to ensure the operability of all escape routes from neighboring states to the volcano Popocatepetl. As precautionary measure we have determined a safety radius of 12 kilometers from the summit of the crater."

The President of the National Disaster Center said that historically speaking, the last eruptive phase of the volcano was between 1919 and 1924. He explained that Popo is the kind of volcano that explodes violently [Ed. note- as opposed to Mauna Loa, which dribbles] "In the recent activity there could be explosive activities of the intermediate to high growth of domes and possible expulsion of lava, explosions of increasing intensity, rains ash on nearby towns. "

Geology professor and volcano expert Erik Klemetti said, "This week a lot of the volcanic focus has been on Mexico’s Popocatepétl and its rumbling – and rightly so. When it comes to volcanic hazards, many times it is all about location, location, location. ... Popocatepétl is situated within 70 km of a major metropolitan center with a population of over 20 million, so even small-to-moderate eruptions can have wide-ranging effects."

Explosions Continue at Popocatépetl as Mexico Prepares for an Eruption
"It appears that the activity at Popocatépetl has picked up, with more ash emissions and even (unconfirmed) reports of new lava at the summit. This would all suggest that the potential for a significant eruption is high. The explosions from the volcano have been large enough to rattle windows in communities surrounding the volcano. CENAPRED reported over 12 explosions in two hours starting at ~5 AM on Friday (April 20). The steam-and-ash plume from Popocatépetl topped out at ~3 km / 10,000 feet while seismicity remains at elevated levels."

There are about 500 active volcanoes throughout the world. In an average year approximately 50 of these erupt. Volcanic hazards create fewer disasters and deaths compared with earthquakes and severe storms. Many of the deaths associated with volcanoes are indirect hazards such as famine due to crop damage or from secondary hazards such as lahars. Volcanoes are composite hazards. There are both primary and secondary hazards which can be caused by volcanic eruptions. The primary hazards include pyroclastic flows, air-fall tephra, lava flows and volcanic gases. The secondary hazards include ground deformation, lahars (mudflows), landslides and possibly tsunamis in ocean floor volcanic eruptions." (source, 'Natural Hazards: Volcanoes')

I counted the eruptions at the Smithsonian Global Volcanism site by year. Smithsonian's site is to volcanoes as United States Geological Survey (USGS) is to earthquakes. Between 1970 and 2010 the average number of eruptions per year have been 61. This year in the first four months we have almost met that average: there have been 56 eruptions already.

1970 - 55
1971 - 53
1972 - 53
1973 - 66
1974 - 60
1975 - 49
1976 - 55
1977 - 64
1978 - 55
1979 - 60
1980 - 66
1981 - 55
1982 - 58
1983 - 55
1984 - 59
1985 - 54
1986 - 67
1987 - 64
1988 - 63
1989 - 54
1990 - 55
1991 - 64
1992 - 57
1993 - 58
1994 - 58
1995 - 62
1996 - 59
1997 - 52
1998 - 56
1999 - 66
2000 – 67
2001 - 65
2002 - 68
2003 - 64
2004 - 71
2005 - 73
2006 – 76
2007 - 72
2008 - 78
2009 - 68
2010 - 69
2011 – 56
For eruptions with a listed start date of 2011

This and That

Here is some good stuff:

Pastor Jordan Hall's website, Pulpit & Pen. I enjoy his forthrightness and his humor. A Montanan of the Reformed Southern Baptist variety, this young pastor is incisive and funny. For example, his latest essay as of this writing is titled, Friendship Evangelism: Winning Souls by Your Awesome Personality. LOL! Here is another sardonic romp, "Stupid Church Signs".

Tim Challies has an excellent essay (when are they ever NOT excellent?) titled "Don't tweet that sermon". The piece explores five biblical-ish reasons not to live tweet a sermon. (I added the -ish because the bible doesn't directly address iPads and tweeting, silly).

John MacArthur's recent sermon "The startling servant of Jehovah." Exploring Isaiah 52:13-15, my favorite bible teacher does it again, brings to life the majestic God that is Jesus while at the same time slaying me with the vividness of His personal sacrifice. If you need a great dose of Jesus, this sermon is it.

Erin Benzinger responded to the current issue of people eschewing 'dry theology' for live friendship Gospel-evangelizing in a pointed, clear, convicting way in Perry Noble misses the point. Don't miss.

These are brothers and sisters in the faith, writing about life with Jesus as their backdrop. Their blogs are engaging, loving, and homey. If you want to visit some wonderful Christian people living life and honoring Jesus with their life and words, go to these blogs:

Lin: Backyard In Motion
Tracy: Nothing New Under the Sun
Lydia: Disciple's Diary
Kelly: The Weeping Prophet 
Barbara: Wingabouts
Linda: Today's Grace
Sandee: Serve Him In the Waiting
Jean-Louis: The Light Seed
Kim: The Incredible Gift
Child of God: CPR Ezra 8:23

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:29). Pray, read, and listen to Him, our Greatest treasure!

Beth Moore: a type of false prophetess of the church at Thyatira?

I want to explore several concepts from scripture as they relate to prophecy and the church today. The main word to take from this essay is "TYPE."

The first concept is the type of churches depicted in the seven letters to seven churches as we read in Revelation 2-3.

These were actual churches that actually existed, had actual congregations and actual praise and condemnation from Jesus. These churches are each also a type of church that existed and still exists throughout the Church Age. The letters are included in Revelation to reveal seven different types of individuals/churches throughout history to today and instruct us in God's truth. I do not believe that we can accurately and solidly match each church to an "age" throughout the Church Age. The type of churches depicted in the Letters are each individually kinds of churches that could and did exist at any time in this present age, including now. Ultimately, we can learn from each of the letters.

The second type I want to focus on is a historic type that is depicted in the bible. Each of these types have an actual person who will actually fulfill what is laid down in the bible, but also give rise to a type or forerunner. An example is Antiochus, who was a type of Antichrist. There will be one man who will fulfill the prophesies regarding what is written, but until is time arrives, there have been forerunners, or types of antichrists throughout the ages, men who were like an antichrist but not THE antichrist. Hitler was another antichrist-type.

John the Baptist was a type of Elijah the Prophet. There was an Elijah, and there will be an actual man Elijah again (I propose he is one of the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11), but John was a type of Elijah.

And now the main theme of this essay, the type of False Prophetess of Thyatira. There was an actual woman Jesus condemned who was corrupting the church at Thyatira. However we know from the previous bible examples that though there was an actual false prophetess corrupting the church at Thyatira, there will be again a type of false prophetess who corrupts the church.

Jesus's letter regarding Thyatira was the longest of the seven. It enumerates a number of issues with that church, however I'll focus on the teachings of the false prophetess who was corrupting the sheep.

Church at Thyatira
Thomas Allom's "Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia"
Here is the text: “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

This church was tolerating sin and idolatry (also sexual immorality). Worse, it was tolerating a woman teacher who was promoting idolatry and not only were they tolerating it, but she had risen to such a point of prominence so that Jesus called her "Jezebel" (who was a queen who led the people into idolatry and immorality). Now, it should be noted that this corruption was coming from a woman who was teaching the brethren, not from an outside influence. She was regarded as a sister in the faith. A prominent sister. So much so that she was given to teach and had gathered quite a few around her who were followers of her false teaching. And the rest were tolerating it.

God wants a pure church. He wants Jesus to have a holy and virginal bride, and toleration of idolatry and false teaching is the opposite of that. This church at Thyatira was mightily besmirched.

Charles Eerdman (1866-1960) wrote a summary of the churches in The Revelation of John: an exposition. Speaking of "the case of the church at Thyatira, as of the churches in Sardis and Laodicea, the situation was far more serious. Here not merely a small minority was indifferent but large numbers had actually yielded to the demoralizing influence of false teaching, and I might add of sin."

However, to complicate matters, the verse in Rev. 2:19 says "as for your works, the last are more than the first." They were loving, working and doing more that they had at the first. This makes it incredibly hard to separate the sinful idolatry from the loving works. They were not loveless, but they were tolerating sin, which would eventually eat them up. It did. By the second century there was no church at Thyatira any more. It had died. So obviously loving works alone are not enough to carry a church through. There must be solid doctrine and discerning elders properly addressing false doctrine.

In Thyatira, they were tolerating a false teaching. They were accepting of a woman who had taken a place of leadership in teaching, she was even preaching and prophesying. The church congregation was tolerating the evils of idolatry. Though the verse above calls them out for eating foods sacrificed to idols, nowadays, we do not sacrifice food to idols. However the notion there was of spiritual adultery, and spiritual adultery is certainly an issue today.

Let's take a moment to discuss modern idolatry. Idol worship in the Bible days was worshiping a cut piece of wood or stone, imbuing it with certain godly properties etc. Nowadays because the law is written in our hearts and the Spirit dwells in the body as its temple, idolatry is more geared to the self. All the various forms of modern idolatry (not biblical idolatry of calf or statue) have one thing at their core: self. We don't bow down to idols and images these days. Instead we worship at the altar of the god of self. The current preaching of the false teachers in the church teach and preach not the bible through exegesis which is to take from the Word based on the Spirit's truths, but instead read one’s own life experiences into the text of Scripture, called eisegesis. Instead of drawing out Jesus from the text, we read ourselves into it. False teachers teach the need to make the Bible all about ourselves.

There are many kids of self-worship today. The word-faith crowd believes we have so much power that we bind God into doing something by the power of our voices and words. Others of a more mystical bent believe that we have the power to be as gods ourselves by emptying our minds and becoming one with the universe. Still others preach we have the ability to prosper ourselves with our intentions and imaginations. No matter what kind of false teaching it is, it always comes back to self: our money, our faith, our abilities, our "pits", our emotions, our ability to get ourselves out of pits, our, me, me.

Webster defines idol worship as “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.”

With all of the above said, and with the idea that a type of false prophetess will become prominent and corrupt the such into spiritual adultery, can you think of one woman who perhaps fits the type that is described in the Letter to Thyatira?

Beth Moore?

I think we can see that in Beth Moore's fans, they exhibit what Webster calls the idol worshiping excessive devotion to her that goes beyond a simple preference for one teacher over another.

John MacArthur, in his sermon The Pathology of False Teachers, defines what false teaching IS: "It could be error about Christ, error about His lineage, error about His virgin birth. Someone who teaches contrary to the sinless perfection of Christ, contrary to His substitutionary atoning death on the cross, contrary to His resurrection, contrary to His miraculous life and works, His perfect teaching, His Second Coming, His high priestly ministry of intercession, His eternal reign, any of that. Anyone who teaches differently than that. It could be a denial of the authenticity of Scripture, the inspiration of Scripture, the authority of Scripture, the inerrancy of Scripture. It could be a denial of the work and ministry and person of the Holy Spirit as revealed on the pages of holy Scripture."

In Mrs Moore's case her falsity comes in "a denial of the authenticity of Scripture, the inspiration of Scripture, the authority of Scripture, the inerrancy of Scripture." If you are just reading for the first time that there are concerns with Mrs Moore's teachings, please note that I have many examples of these concerns on the sidebar to your right. Other bloggers have also listed their concerns hereherehereand here. Personally, I state unequivocally that through spirit-led study and discernment that my proposal is she is currently Christianity's greatest counterfeit.

Her teaching denies the inspiration of Scripture, the authority of Scripture, the inerrancy of Scripture by inserting herself as another Authority by reception of divine revelation outside the bible. She has been subtle. However, her false teaching is rapidly becoming more bold. She says that she hears God personally telling her to do things or to teach things, this is a denial of the authority of scripture when you receive direct revelation and teach it as authoritative. She said recently she was lifted up to another dimension to see the church from Jesus's perspective through Jesus's eyes and returned to tell what she saw. This is prophetess. She says a book was delivered to her heart in toto by God with a force as compelled to put ink on paper. This is spirit writing, an idolatry that consorts with the devil. More here.

All false teachers gather to themselves followers who exhibit excessive devotion. These followers defend their favored teacher almost violently. Many call themselves a "Beth Moore groupie." Traditionally, "A groupie is a person who seeks emotional and sexual intimacy with a musician or other celebrity or public figure. "Groupie" is derived from group in reference to a musical group, but the word is also used in a more general sense, especially in casual conversation. The word "groupie" is ... a derisive term used to describe a particular kind of female fan assumed to be more interested in sex with rock stars than in their music." In Mrs Moore's case it is the emotional intimacy they seek, because Mrs Moore is a self-help guru using the bible as a platform from which to read ourselves into the text for temporal help with astray emotions, rather than a sacred text to discern more about Jesus. In the groupie's mind they seek more intimacy with the false teacher than with Jesus. Any person who has become the substitution of adoration aside from Jesus is worshiping an idol.

Many female fans are more interested in following this false teacher than the One whom they are supposed to be learning about. Like this lady who titled her blog entry "Confessions of a Beth Moore groupie". Or this lady, who calls herself a BM groupie and says that if Mrs Moore is anywhere within driving distance, she goes to see her. Or this lady who made tank tops and took a photo of the self-admitted groupies in her group to send to the object of their adoration. Or this lady who calls herself a groupie and jokes that she amazingly strayed once from Mrs Moore to take a study under someone else (Priscilla Shirer, another false teacher). This lady calls herself not only a Beth Moore groupie, but a Beth Moore addict. I can go on with the myriad of ladies online who self-profess excessive devotion to a person who is not Jesus, but you get the idea.

The verse from 2 Timothy 4:3 applies best here: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears..." Let's unpack this phrase by phrase.

First, these ladies do not want sound doctrine. They have already rejected it.

Second, they want to suit their own desires. There is nothing in the universe more powerful than satisfying our own fleshly desires. It got Eve, then Adam. 1 John 2:16 applies here: "For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world." It is one reason for the vehement defense of Mrs Moore and the violently verbal rejection of anyone sharing concerns about Mrs Moore.

Third, they 'heap up teachers.' This part of the verse always reminded me of a child at the beach, heaping up sand next to themselves, or a child at Christmas, heaping up toys.

Fourth, their ears itch. An itch MUST be satisfied. The Greek word for itch here is knéthó, itch, rub, tickle, or from a late word meaning 'scrape.' This brings to mind the extreme scene of itching Job experienced when he had boils, and used a pot sherd to scrape them. He didn't care if his very skin was scraped off, he had to satisfy that tickle so badly, even if it hurt him. (Job 2:8).

It is not simply a difference of opinion in one bible teacher over another. Where satan has successfully installed a false teacher who is drawing many away from sound doctrine, he will fight to the death to keep it that way. Here is a great short essay in Why Idolatry is so Attractive. If you read it, you will see why the ladies react the way they do, and why it is so hard to get a Beth Moore lover away from her teaching.

No, she does not call herself a prophetess, but she acts in the prophetess role when she says she received a word from God audibly, directly, or through a vision and was 'told' to go out and speak it to the people. Defenders of Mrs Moore pick at points such as the aforementioned, but in looking at false teachers and the type of false prophetess described in the letter to Thyatira, we look at what they do, not just at what they say. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck.

I have shared with you an interpretation specific to Thyatira of what Jesus warned, and of which we discern also will happen to the churches throughout the age. I applied an understanding of how Mrs Moore may be filling a type of role Jesus prophesied will occur. I ask you to ponder it, pray, and decide for yourself. I believe that Beth Moore is a type of false prophetess so deeply embedded in the body of the true church that her deep things of satan are corrupting it. That is my opinion, based on research, discernment, and prayer.

Meanwhile, Jesus said to those who do NOT hold to this false prophetess's teaching, this or any false teaching, I remind us of Jesus's words, "Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come."

Hold fast to the truth! He knows who does not fall to the deep things of satan, and has their reward in mind. One stays fast to the truth by continually studying the real thing, praying, and submitting to the Spirit's generous leading into discernment. If you know the real thing, then you can spot the counterfeit. Watch out for popular false prophetesses, Thyatira, and hold fast, Jesus is coming!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Strange sounds in the sky: Oregon

Along with all the increased signs that Jesus predicted we would see in advance of His coming, such as wars, earthquakes, pestilences etc; the manifested or visible supernatural has also increased. It will increase a lot more during the Tribulation, Revelation tells us. Also Joel. I've posted about the strange onset in NY of what doctors are calling Tourette's but looks for all the world like demonic possession, entire towns where strange demonic things happen (Sicily and the clocks, demon attack in West Indies and a follow-up), a vampire in Colorado that caused a car crash, Halo over Mile High Stadium, and who can forget the Norwegian Doom Spiral and the Ghost Horse of Tahrir Square? Now the strange sounds of the Apocalypse. That is the public's name for the phenomenon, not mine.

I've posted about the strange sounds three times this year. In January, March and April. Of all the weird/inexplicable things that have been happening, I'm most intrigued by the Strange Sky Noises. (Another name for the phenomenon). And it is a phenomenon by now. Phenomenon is defined as "any observable occurrence."  But that doesn't seem to adequately cover the definition for the Sounds of the Apocalypse events that are occurring all over the world. So we look at the definition of Paranormal Phenomenon: which is a general term that designates experiences that lie outside "the range of normal experience or scientific explanation" or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure. Paranormal phenomena are distinct from certain hypothetical entities, such as dark matter and dark energy, only insofar as paranormal phenomena are inconsistent with the world as already understood through empirical observation coupled with scientific methodology." (Wikipedia).

THAT seems to define it.

Here is the commentary for the video uploaded by the Oregon woman:

"This is the 3rd morning in a row at roughly 3:00 am. The sound starts with a rumbling in the ground, and then the sound continues for roughly 30 minutes or so. Can not explain where it is coming from, it seems as if it is coming strait from the sky with not a single plane in sight. If anyone has anymore info. on this sound we are hearing, I would very much appreciate any explanation to what we are experiencing here in Oregon. Thank you."

This blog has a follow up with questions asked of the Youtube lady who had uploaded the video. She answered some of the questions people had wondered about in her comment section.

Now for the biblical exploration of the strange sky noises.

"A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD." (Jeremiah 25:31).  The Hebrew word for noise is defined in Strong's Concordance: "shaon: or din, clamor, big noise, roaring, rumbling, tumult." The sounds people have been hearing all over the world have been variously described with exactly those adjectives. Strong's further defines the word shaon, "a roar of many waters as in simile of noise of invading host." Further, the infinitive of the word is defined as "by implication, destruction -- horrible, noise, pomp, rushing, tumult". Horrible. Yes. You will remember that the host are the armies of angels, both the good ones and the fallen ones. In none of the cases where the noise was heard and recorded did it sound like a pleasant noise. The noises are not named Sounds of the Apocalypse for nothing.

If the armies of heaven are readying for the battle, then what would it sound like? When Elisha asked God to reveal by sight to his servant the host that had gathered around them, were there also sounds that the servant heard?

"When Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And the LORD opened the servant's eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." (2 Kings 6:17). Would Elisha's servant have heard rumbling of the chariots? Were his ears also opened? I dare to say that when a multitudinous army masses for battle, there is clanking and rumbling and noise.

We know in John 12:28-29 that when Jesus prayed to God for Him to glorify His name, "Then a voice came out of heaven: “Father, glorify Your name.” "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” So some heard thunder and some heard the voice of an angel.

I have no doubt that some of these noises are hoaxes. But many of them are not. How do I know? Well, for example, this one above. It is the spookiest, creepiest, scariest I've heard yet. When you get to the last few seconds, the lady says 'I am going to just stay here until it ends' and right then, the noise crescendos into something that is utterly horrifying to the soul. At that time she says, "UH MAYBE NOT!" and the screen goes blank. The sound terrifies not just the ears but the soul. It raised hackles on my neck and sent a shudder down my body. It caused a spiritual reaction that freaked me out so I won't listen to it again. If a hoax noise can do that, then my hat is off to the hoaxer.

Otherwise, pray, people, for soon the sounds will be sight, and the sight will be terrible to behold. Elisha and his servant were not afrighted because the host they were allowed to see were there to help them. In Jeremiah, we read that "He will give them that are wicked the sword." The justified will be in heaven due to the rapture. The wicked will be the ones that are left behind. And it will be to them that the horrible host will rumble with a tumult out of the sky to put them to the sword.

If you are frightened by that specter, then plea to Jesus for forgiveness of your sins. He died for those sins, you know! They are forgiven already. All you have to do is call upon Him as Lord, and because of His death and resurrection, the sin-debt to God has been satisfied. You can be included in that happy group, if you repent. Otherwise the Sounds of the Apocalypse will soon become sight, and "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." (Luke 21:26).

Prata's Place / Graceful Garlands: Gradual Growth

My title comes from Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland ...