Sunday, August 31, 2014

A roundup of news stories about people who have technology implanted in their bodies, AKA microchips

It's amazing how far medicine has advanced in my lifetime. I remember the first transplanted heart operation (1967). The first test tube baby (1978). The first cloned mammal (Dolly the Sheep, 1996).

Now it seems that every other day some company or other is touting the benefits of a chip under our skin or a removable technological tattoo. The technology is there for the antichrist to embed a tattoo or other technological device so as to keep track of who can buy or sell - and who cannot. (Revelation 13:16).

The technology is there. LOL, I remember how shocking and strange the TV show in 1974 was, The Six Million Dollar Man, the bionic man. Steve Austin, the reconstructed man was actually the first widely televised cyborg. A very nice Terminator, as it were. The show's tagline was "we have the technology" ...

Harve Bennett: Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive.
Oscar Goldman: We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster.

Methinks it is God who makes us stronger, better, faster ... by glorification, not technology. And personally, with my plantar fasciitis acting up, I can't wait to be pain free!

Here is a smorgasborg smorgasboard of recent news stories about a chip-

Is there a chip in your future? (not mine!!)

Digital tattoos and advanced phone technology advertised by Motorola

Microchips Will Be Implanted Into Healthy People Sooner Than You Think

Real cyborgs: People who have technology implanted in their bodies
[What's interesting to me in this article was the increase in sales. Why anyone who doesn't need a chip would get one is beyond me. His company is based in Seattle.]
Amal Graafstra sells implantable RFID chips through his website, Dangerous Things (he has an RFID chip in each hand). Traffic has increased from one sale a week in 2012 when he launched the site, to at least one a day now. He sells two different injection kits, for $57 and $99, and he estimates that he's sold two to three thousand chips total.
Here is another story about Amal Graafstra and his chips, from the Irish Examiner-

BIG READ: When man meets machine - Amal Graafstra and his bio-hacking body
Proponents of chip implantation point out that as it stands, there is no single convention for communicating with the range of machines that facilitate our lives. Card readers, ATM machines, smartphones, and building access panels all rely on a myriad of different technologies, from PINs to chips to magnetic strips and security questions. A single RFID implant could provide the single means by which we engage with the technology our lives have come to depend upon.

And that would be the last step, wouldn't it? The single means for the antichrist to track those who are left behind and choose to worship him so they can buy and sell (Rev 13:16-17).

Ultra-compact implantable image sensor using body channel communication
[Wow that's small!]

Technology has come a long way in the last few decades, so quickly.

Religion is represented as a woman

In the bible, religion, whether bad or good, is always represented as a woman.

Mystery Babylon - the first false religion and the last - (and all of them in between) is represented in Revelation 17 as a woman.

And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. (Revelation 17:3-6)

The church at Thyatira was plagued with idolatry, in the form of a represented Jezebel,

But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20)

Whoredom is spiritual adultery and spiritual adultery is whoredom, Hosea 1:2

When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.”

On the positive side, Israel is represented as a woman in Revelation 12:1,

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars

Jesus as the Bridegroom, has sacrificially, lovingly, and eternally chosen the church to be His bride,

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25–27)

Public Domain
In the end, the true believers will be forever united with Christ as the wife.

Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." (Revelation 21:9)

What a day that will be!!! Made perfect and holy, adorned and loved, freed from even the presence of sin. Our Savior, our Groom is a tremendous God!

Seasons change, God stays the same

EPrata photo

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Victoria Osteen: "When we obey God, we're not doing it for God...we're doing it for ourselves"; Bill Cosby responds, video

Two days ago, a friend emailed me the link to an amazing clip of a video going viral. It is a 38-second clip of Victoria Osteen, co-pastor with Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church. In the clip, she is telling the audience that they are to worship themselves, because God is pleased when they do that. I am not making this up.

I assure you.

Here is the transcript courtesy of Cross Map, Heather Clark, the same author as the piece at Christian News I mention and link to below.

Here's Victoria Osteen, speaking to approximately 16,000 attendees,
I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we're not doing it for God-I mean, that's one way to look at it-we're doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we're happy," she declares in the undated 36-second clip with her husband standing by her side and nodding. "That's the thing that gives Him the greatest joy...
So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy," Osteen continues. "When you come to church, when you worship Him, you're not doing it for God really. You're doing it for yourself, because that's what makes God happy. Amen?
I searched to see if the video was a hoax. It HAS to be, right? Yet...the Joel graphic was embedded in the video, and the two figures on stage indeed were indeed of Victoria and Joel. Her lips moved in time with the sound of the words, so it hadn't been dubbed or altered. I looked at Snopes and Hoax Slayer but nothing came up. Though the clip was from their website, unfortunately only the Joel-portions of the Lakewood services are put up (that I could find) not the first half with the music and the short message from Victoria prior to when Joel begins his speech.

So I waited.

It kind of took the social media by storm. It is such a blatant statement, shocking to our core. No, we are not surprised an Osteen would say something like this, but it's shocking nonetheless.

In adulterous marriages, when one spouse intuits that the other spouse is engaging in adultery, our brain handles the information. However it is an entirely different story when we are confronted with the cold hard fact of it. We are not surprised, because we kind of cognitively knew it all along, but it is still a shock to the system emotionally, through and through. Or so I read.

The Osteens and all their kin are spiritual adulterers. We know it- cognitively. We know it theologically. But when we see it, we are as emotionally shocked as if Victoria had put rollers on her bed and theatrically performed actual adultery while rolling down Main Street. There is a difference between knowing, and knowing.

Essay edited to include this thought:
What is shocking about Mrs Osteen's speech is that they aren't even bothering to hide their apostasy anymore. Usually they cloak their speeches and comments in Christianese, paying lip service to Jesus. Here, that veneer is ripped away and they simply come out as who they are: evil blasphemers.

Meanwhile Christian News Net published a thorough article on the video and the Osteens. It's here. And that was that. I wasn't going to write about it because Christian News said all there was to say, and better than I could. Until I saw this video on Twitter. It's from Manuel Brambila ‏@mbrambila, who I do not know, retweeted by Bjørn Storm, who I do know. I took a look at the video, it is on Bryant Harris' Youtube page. But because so many of these videos are scrubbed from the net, I downloaded the video to my own hard drive and then put it up here. Hopefully this will keep the Archival Evidence of Gross and Craven Apostasy intact.

Though the Christian News article is good, I think this response is better.


Further reading

Victoria Osteen Ripped for Telling Church 'Just Do Good For Your Own Self'; Worship Is Not for God, 'You're Doing it for Yourself'

A pictorial representation of the churches of Revelation

This is a creative, artistic rendering of my view of the 7 churches in Revelation. The original photo, which I took, is of an abandoned church in the area in which I live. Photographic manipulation and imagination did the rest.

In the first century, there were 7 churches Jesus caused John to write messages for. These were actual churches with actual congregations, doing and saying actual things. Jesus told apostle John, exiled at Patmos, what to write to these congregations. Jesus spoke commendations, criticisms, and instructions. Not all 7 churches were commended. Not all 7 churches were criticized. All had an instruction, though.

The church at Smyrna and the church at Philadelphia were not criticized. The church at Laodicea was not commended. The rest had both.

The churches were: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea.

Can you imagine being assembled on Sunday, hearing a knock on the church door, a messenger arriving and handing a scroll to your pastor, and the pastor reads a letter from the head of the Church, Jesus Christ Himself? Jesus is very much alive and in charge of His global body of worshipers, AKA His bride. He was directly involved then, and He is directly involved now.

Each of the seven churches was not only an actual church but is also a type of church dealing with a problem mentioned in the letters. The problem is not unique to that church for that time. There are always the same kind of systemic problems many churches deal with and have been recurring throughout the centuries. Always, there is a church somewhere that is busy but not alive. Always, somewhere, is a church that is indifferent and lukewarm. On this earth, there is a collection of churches gracefully enduring suffering, or being persecuted. And so on.

Please read Revelation 1-3, it is not hard. Those chapters offer the reader plain language and it's not heavily symbolic. Meanwhile here are my renderings of the churches in Revelation with their pictorial representation of the problem (or commendation) they had. Below the photo essay is a short artist's statement of how the interpretation came about.



Artist statement:

Ephesus: I was struck by the fact they had abandoned their fervent love for Jesus. I imagined how hearing this, John might have felt like he had ashes in his mouth and ears. "Nothing cold as ashes, after the fire is gone." (Loretta Lynn). The photo is as if ashes were smeared on it.

Smyrna: No criticism. Only light, the crown of life in heaven, and joy. The bubbles are angels surrounding the church Jesus commends in love and encouragement.

Pergamos: Compromise was their problem. Anyone who ever had a house built knows that if the contractor compromises on the concrete foundation, cracks appear at the first frost-freeze-thaw cycle. Nothing cracks a structure or an organization faster than compromise. Hence, the cracked door and walls.

Thyatira: This church had a problem with a seductress teaching sexual immorality and the people tolerated it. It is a harlot church, literally. Hence the lipstick on the walls and the hearts and fireworks and pink.

Sardis: Revelation has a change in tone here. Sardis is dead. I used tombstone engraving font for the verse.

Philadelphia: No criticism. This church is loved eternally from above. Its door will never close. Hence the sunburst coming out, the eternal stars above to indicate they will be taken before the wrath, and the font in script like a love letter. This church is beloved in heaven.

Laodicea: Indifferent. Jesus hates that worst of all. He excoriates it with a lengthy invective no other church received in their message. He will vomit this church from His mouth. Hence the bilious green splat from heaven.

(I never said I was THAT imaginative.)

Interlude: The Scripture cannot be broken

I'm working on a very hard-hitting and uncompromising blog essay. In these apostate times it's easy to become depressed at all the false teaching, the turning aside of beloved friends, the wolves coming out of the woodwork. God promised this, He said it would happen and it is.

But His promises of faithfulness are just as sterling and perfect, too. Before I do publish the essay I'm working on I wanted to stop for an interlude. There is a verse I love. It is John 10:35-

If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—

The verse is part of a longer conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees, but let's focus on the fragment inserted into the verse: scripture can't be broken.

In today's world, everything breaks. I have a Weber Showcase & Fixture Co. turn of the last century Banker's Chair. It is heavy oak, with a steampunk mounting and swivel that would hold a tank. It is well made. Only in the last year did it break. The threads stripped enough so the chair won't stay high at the table for me to use it. In the beginning of the 20th century and the century before, they made things to last.

Now, everything's broken. We have broken marriages, broken homes, disposable toasters, throw away watches. Your TV breaks? Buy another. Dishes are no longer carefully handed down from generation to generation, when they break, just go to Target and buy some more.

Scripture CANNOT be broken. It will never be broken. Pulpit Commentary says of the John 10:35 verse,
cannot he broken; loosed, destroyed. A fine testimony to the confidence which our Lord exercised in the Holy Scripture. He was accustomed to educe principles of life from its inward structure, from its concealed framework, from its underlying verities.
S. Lewis Johnson says of the verse
There is one other point I think we ought to notice. And that’s that little statement, “And the Scripture cannot be broken,” in John 10 verse 35. That gives us some idea of our Lord’s view of the word of God. The Scripture cannot be broken. It is of indefectible authority. It cannot fail and the things that it teaches cannot fail either. All of the designs and purposes of the word of God shall be accomplished, just as all of the designs and purposes of the Son of God shall be accomplished. The Scripture cannot be broken. That’s striking isn’t it?
What joy to see our Savior model complete trust and rest in His Father's word. We do the same. We know that though false religions will come, and wolves and destroyers; so will peace, fulfillment of all the scriptures, and everlasting promises of the Lord our God.

The scripture cannot be broken. In wrapping ourselves in the scriptures, we cannot be broken either. No matter how  upsetting, no matter how concerning, no matter how terrible things get, all the promises God said would happen will happen- including His working things to the good, our coming hope and joy, the Banquet, the rapture, Jesus with us in person, eternal perfect worship. All of it. Because...scripture cannot be broken.

EPrata photo

Friday, August 29, 2014

Loving the unlovable

Love the weird, the crazy, the tactless, the ones who move through the world differently than you do, AKA the unlovable in your church!

I'm one of the weird ones, so I'm grateful for this verse ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What is evil? You would be surprised.

Here are a few links for you. There is a theme.

This was a great analysis of Mark Driscoll's "Update Apology". The author parsed Driscoll's words and translated into plain-speak. And it isn't good.

An analysis of Mark Driscoll’s update to Mars Hill Church
Because we can do that, you know. We can analyze the words of Driscoll personally, and we can analyze the words as an articulation of Mars Hill Church’s attitudes and intentions. So we can dissect these words to discern what they are really saying to us, the abused. We can listen to what Driscoll is saying and what the church is saying. What is in their heart? Here’s what I’m hearing:
The spiritual abuse Driscoll has heaped on the sheep, and the reproach he has brought to Jesus' name, is heinous in the extreme. It's evil.

Once I wrote on Twitter and this blog that if Hitler had repented, he'd be in heaven, and that "Mother Teresa" was in hell. I got a lot of flak. But I wanted to point out two things: Jesus' work on the cross and His resulting grace covers ALL sins- except the sin of rejecting Him. Secondly, most people don't know what an evil pagan Mother Teresa was. When they think 'evil' the go-to poster boy is always Hitler and when they think 'nice' they always think Mother Teresa. But theological rejection of Christ and a lifetime of working against Him is evil. Let's call it what it is. Here is one author who does.

Here's What We Learned From Mother Teresa and Why We Should Reject It

Speaking of calling evil, evil, here is Denny Burk on that very topic. Let's not get so inoculated with the times that we forget what evil is- opposing Christ in any form. Here, Burk uses ISIS terrorists as the example. In his essay at the top is a photo of a black hooded ISIS terrorist holding a knife.My point is that the ones who terrotize in Allahs' name are not the only evil ones. The smiling pseudo Christians are actually worse.

Refusing to call evil “evil”

This next essay is about apathetic Christians who have emerged from a generation of decisional acceptance of Christ and the prevalent lazy attitude toward obeying Him. We are reaping the 'rewards' of a generation as this author says, of "Millions upon millions of content and confident, flesh-obsessed walking dead who think like the world, act like the world, love what the world loves and hate what the world hates…all in Jesus’ name."

The (church built) Zombie Apocalypse is upon us…

If you haven't caught on to the theme of this essay with links, it is evil, but not Hitler evil. Not ISIS evil. It's pseudo-Christian evil, in my opinion, the worst kind. I expect terrorists like ISIS to be ferocious, bloody knife wielding lawbreakers. But the true Christian world forgets that a Beth Moore, a Mother Teresa, a Mark Driscoll, a sin-avoiding preaching pastor, a lazy pseudo-Christian, are also terrorists. They're terrorists, lawbreakers, spies, and destroyers.

Do you think one of these images is worse than another? You're right, it's Beth Moore who is the more evil.

An ISIS terrorist's gun kills the body. Moore's weapon, the bible, (the way she uses it), kills the soul. (Matthew 10:28)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.  (Matthew 23:15)

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)

James Robison and wife Betty.
Their program on Wednesdays features Beth Moore

This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. (Galatians 2:4)

Just because we can see that ISIS terrorists are maniacal, foaming at the mouth unthinking dogs doesn't make them more evil than a Beth Moore or a James Robison. It actually makes them less evil, because they are easy to spot. The true terrorists of earth are the ones who creep in to church in order to destroy the name of Christ and hinder the witness of the sheep.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. (2 Peter 2:1)

One of the faces of today's evil

Jesus knows we find it hard to bear the evil done in His name. He understands the teeth-grinding righteous grief we feel when we see what is done in His name by those calling themselves His children-

‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. (Revelation 2:2)

A preacher like Mark Driscoll is actually more dangerous than an ISIS terrorist. Same with Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, James Robison, Mother Teresa, Pope Francis...They have one thing in common, they are all part of satan's system and are his trophies of evil.

Let's call it what it is.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jesus will never leave you or forsake you

John F. MacArthur
Our Lord is so faithful. I am often astounded with knowing the great thread of faith that runs through the centuries, unbroken, in men God has raised up. He never leaves us or forsakes us. This means personally, Jesus never leaves us. It means He is immanent. He is indwelling us. He raises up good men through whom He perpetuates the faith, to the blessing of the current generation (whichever generation that may be, whether 1st century or 21st century).

Readers of this blog are often treated to quotes from pastor-teacher John MacArthur, or links to his sermons. I think highly of the man, and I think even more highly of our faithful Jesus who raised him up, empowers him in learning the bible, and strengthens him to persevere.

I'd like to offer you some reasons why I feel this way.

A very kind reader sent me a link to a sermon Dr MacArthur delivered at the Believers Chapel in Dallas, Texas on June 29. This was the church eminent S. Lewis Johnson preached at for many years. I love Dr Johnson's sermons too, and readers will know that I've often linked to, where blessedly most of Johnson's sermons can still be heard.

The reader said in his email to me that Dr MacArthur visited Believers Chapel "because S. Lewis Johnson preached here."  MacArthur grew up on Johnson's exposition and has often said that he was was greatly affected by Johnson's theology, exposition, and demeanor.

As Dr MacArthur's sermon opens, he is introduced by someone at the Chapel. He said of MacArthur:

--He has been teaching verse by verse through the New Testament, at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles for 45 years,
--He is the President of Masters Seminary (which he founded),
--He is the President of Masters College (which he founded),
S. Lewis Johnson
--He is the President of Grace To You, where his teaching is aired on the radio over 1000 times a day throughout the English speaking world, in every major population center, on every continent,
--His teaching program airs on the radio nearly 1000 times a day in Spanish, in 23 countries from Europe to Latin America,
--He has written over 400 books,
--He preaches at his home church weekly,
--The cornerstone of his works is the MacArthur study bible, which has been translated into 9 languages,
--But the main work has been as husband, father, and grandfather, because he truly lives as he preaches.

I offer double honor to this man and his family, because it is surely a blessing to be able to access such stellar exposition, and to be witness to a federal headship in a home filled with Christ's love. (1 Timothy 5:17).

I offer all praise and glory to our Christ, who said He will never leave  us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5).

In raising up men to edcucate us, shepherd us, and love us, this is one of the ways Jesus never leaves us.

How about your pastor, your teachers, your deacons? God has raised them up too. Tirelessly they toil in love for you and under submission to Jesus, who called them to a difficult ministry. When you see those good men of the church, see Jesus in them, and realize you are not alone, you are loved and cared for by them. Jesus has not forsaken you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Franklin Graham part of "a new evangelization" partnering with Catholics, Graham's Three Rivers Festival hosts Catholic Bishop Zubik

As many already know. Billy Graham is an ecumenical religionist who preaches an aberrant, unsaving doctrine. [Read also "When Did Graham's Compromise Begin?]

The elder Graham has been a friend of Rome for a long time, partnering with Popes and priests in various ecumenical endeavors as if the Catholic religion was true.

Occasionally people have asked me if the son, Franklin Graham, believes the same about Rome. There is an oft-repeated quote from a newspaper article from 1999 which seemed to indicate the younger Graham does. Franklin Graham told the Indianapolis Star (6/3/99) that his father's longstanding ecumenical alliance with the Catholic Church and all other denominations, "was one of the smartest things his father ever did."

But was one quote enough? Not to me. I waited and watched to see what would come out later. Would the fruit be thorns, or grapes? It didn't seem likely that Graham the Younger raised in such an environment as Graham the elder's, would emerge with beliefs that were true, but in any case, I was in wait and see attitude.

Meanwhile, in 2011 I saw a very interesting article from Maryland. It's obvious that Rome's doctrines are not saving doctrines and that the Roman Catholic Church is false. Yet astoundingly,
"An Episcopal church has decided to convert, en masse, to Catholicism. The parishioners, along with the pastor, wants to be under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and its pope. Why? "[C]hurch members said, they were satisfying their longing for a clear religious authority by welcoming the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI. ... they decided that the Reformation was a mistake. "It feels fantastic," Delaney said. “It’s like correcting 500 years of history.”"
I was flabbergasted that they would choose such obvious falsity. However, that little trickle was an example of what by now has become a broken dam. Falsity of all sorts of Catholic mischief has flooded into the faith. Lighthouse Trails has a good rundown of the examples of formerly evangelical leaders embracing various aspects of Catholic ritual. (Labyrinths, Contemplative Prayer, Lectio Divina, ecumenical partnerships, acceptance of Catholic dogma etc.) Just this month, I wrote about the infiltration of the Protestant use of Catholic prayer bead rosaries.

Since my first awakening notice of Catholic-Protestant unification in 2011, I've seen that Catholicism has become all the rage in Protestantism. The avalanche since 2011 in Catholicism entering Protestantism has been veritably sweeping away many individuals and whole churches. The acceptance of and promotion by top Protestant evangelical leaders is furthering this cause.
Jasmine Goldband Photography

Case in point- Franklin Graham. In August at the Three Rivers Festival (Franklin refuses to call the gatherings "Crusades" like his father,) the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association hosted a Catholic Bishop on stage, partnered with the city's Catholic church as part of the "evangelistic outreach." Bishop David Zubik was the Catholic representative, and he was invited to give the opening prayer. Worse, seekers were encouraged to come to the Catholic church for counseling, since they were 'right next door.' Here are the Bishop's words. This is from the August 10 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Bishop David Zubik said the festival dovetails with calls by recent popes to a ”new evangelization,“ bringing back cradle Catholics who drifted or became estranged from the faith.

"We felt as long as there was a Catholic component to this particular crusade, we wanted to be a part of it,“ Bishop Zubik said. Those who respond to Rev. Graham’s invitation to make a decision for Christ, and who identify as Catholic, will be given the opportunity to go to Epiphany Church — adjacent to the Consol Energy Center — for the sacrament of reconciliation, or confession. ”We’re right next door,“ Bishop Zubik said.
Franklin Graham and Billy Graham will have to answer to our Holy Savior for their part in decades of consigning babes to darkness. They are false apostles, workers of darkness making sons of hell twice as worse as they are (Matthew 23:15, Luke 13:27). Their end will be as they deserve.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:15)

Did you know that Bob Jones Sr. called the elder Graham a "limb of satan"? We must call evil what it is. Denny Burk wrote a good essay the other day, "We must call evil, "evil." He was referring to Islam, but I apply his concept here to Catholicism. Just because Islam is ferocious and obviously false doesn't make it more evil than Catholicism, which sort of looks partly Christian and acts kind of nice. They're both evil, because both religions and its adherents are doing evil against Jesus.

Bishop David Zubik said the [Franklin Graham Three Rivers] festival dovetails with calls by recent popes to a ”new evangelization,“ bringing back cradle Catholics who drifted or became estranged from the faith.
I'm very sad that I must call the younger Franklin a false teacher, a false worker, but the evidence is clear. It gives me no pleasure to say it nor to see it. I do grieve for the many people who come to his 'festivals' (of darkness) and are brought full circle back to their unsaved state. If anything comes from this essay let it be two concepts that stay with you:

1. We must see evil what it is; and after prayer and evidence, call it out (Jude 1:3,) and marking those who cause divisions (Romans 16:17)
2. We must be vigilant. These are dangerous times (2 Timothy 3:1).


Further reading

Like Father, Like Son: Franklin Graham (Son of Billy Graham) Allows Roman Catholic Bishop To Pray At His Pittsburgh Evangelistic Revival! Watch The Video Here!

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Revival Headliner Franklin Graham has trail of support

Pittsburgh Catholic Newspaper: Catholics extend welcome to [Franklin Graham's] Festival of Hope crowds

The End Time: "The dangers of the bible...AND..."

Monday, August 25, 2014

The original "humblebrag". Can you guess who humblebragged first?

Humblebrag: Urban Dictionary

Subtly letting others know about how fantastic your life is while undercutting it with a bit of self-effacing humor or "woe is me" gloss.
Uggggh just ate about fifteen piece of chocolate gotta learn to control myself when flying first class or they'll cancel my modelling contract LOL

The New York Times has a good article about the emergence of humblebrags.

"Bah, Humblebrag!"
Published: November 30, 2012
SOMETIMES when I crave a powerful dose of humility — the kind of humility that can come only from fully apprehending the lot of those less fortunate than me — I turn my attention to the plight of the former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. He experiences an exquisite kind of pain. As he lamented on Twitter earlier this year: “They just announced my flight at LaGuardia is number 15 for takeoff. I miss Air Force One!!

When my stores of sympathy have not been fully depleted by contemplating the indignities heaped on Mr. Fleischer, I’ll then go on and immerse myself in the ennobling humility of the comedian Dane Cook. Mr. Cook, who has nearly three million Twitter followers, once tweeted: “Being famous and having a fender bender is weird. You want to be upset but the other drivers just thrilled & giddy that it’s you.” Finally, on those days when my humanity is fathomless, I turn to the selfless tweets of Deepak Chopra. Like: “Hope & despair are born of imagination. I am free of both.”

There’s nothing new about false modesty, nor its designation as a form of bad manners. But the prevalence of social media has given us many more canvases on which to paint our faux humility — making us, in turn, increasingly sophisticated braggers.

Enter the self-deprecating boast known as the “humblebrag,” a term devised by the comedian Harris Wittels, a writer for the NBC series “Parks and Recreation,” who collects hundreds of these cockeyed chestnuts on his Twitter feed and in his new book, both called “Humblebrag.” Whether it be the publicist Jenny Marie Miranda asking, “Why do men hit on me more when I’m in sweat pants?” or Dina Manzo, one of the “Real Housewives,” stating, “I obsess over the welfare of old people & animals on hot days like today. OBSESS #thereissomethingwrongwithme,” a humblebrag is an opportunity for the attention-starved to stake a claim on our sympathy.
The term humblebrag is new. The humblebrag itself is not new. It's just getting more exposure due to social media. However, there is one media that has been with us for two thousand years: the New Testament. In it, there is an epic humblebrag. This humblebrag has garnered more page views, more re-tweets, more social media exposure than any other epic humblebrag, Deepak Chopra's tranquil state of mind notwithstanding.

Here it is: introducing first.... from the red corner, weighing 175 pounds... he hails from Jerusalem, Israel, and was rated by many, as the best pound for best Pharisee of the last decade. With 52 sacrifices, a full tenth of his tithe, 38 of them coming by the way of knockout in the synagogue, 21 successful fasts, and 0 defeats. He is, the former Pharisaical champion, former super junior Pharisee spelling bee champion, HEAVYWEIGHT HUMBLEBRAGGER OF THE WORLD, Pharisee 'Boom Boom' Liebowitz!!

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector." (Luke 18:11)

Annnnnnnnd, in the blue corner, introducing next.... weighing 135 pounds... he hails from Bethphage Israel, and was rated by many, as the worst personnnnin the worrrrrrrld, pound for worst human being of the last decade. With 52 losses, 38 of them coming by the way of bribery, and 412 defeats. He is, the former middleweight tax collector, former super middle weight toll taker, former light heavyweight extortioner, and former HEAVYWEIGHT CRETIN OF THE WORLD, Tax 'Money Snatcher' Collector!

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ (Luke 18:13)

Now that is a real humble with no brag.

The NY Times again:

Indeed, this may be why false modesty is no less discomfiting to its audience (and is sometimes more so) than outright bragging. Outright bragging expects to be met with awe, but humblebragging wants to met with awe and sympathy. It asks for two reactions from its audience, and in so doing makes fools of its beholders twice over.

The moral of the story is simple. Don't humblebrag.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jesus, tempted at all points, knew no sin

Why did Jesus have to live a full-length life from babe to adulthood? Why couldn't He have come down, taught, died and then been resurrected?

John MacArthur preached on the reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:17-21) and included the answer to this question.
He said, "I must fulfill all righteousness. He said that to John the Baptist, remember, "I must fulfill all righteousness." (Matthew 3:15). When the writer of Hebrews says He was tempted at all points like we are yet was without sin, "all points" are chronological. He was tempted the way a child was tempted. He was tempted the way a young person was tempted. He was tempted the way a young adult was tempted. He was tempted at ALL points in the chronology of human life. He lived a complete life into adulthood, tempted every way possible that a human being could be tempted...and yet without sin. Why does there have to be this complete, sinless life? Answer: so that sinless life can be credited to your account. Understand it this way- on the cross, God treats Jesus as if he lived your life so He can treat you as if you lived His.
Jesus is estimated to have lived 33 years. The Compass Point system of headings has 32 "points of the compass". Jesus was tempted "at all points" from birth to death in adulthood and all points in between." It's not exact, but I like the visual.

This one's prettier

Judy Merrill
It is amazing to think our Savior lived a full, perfect, complete life so that He could take on our sin, and we could receive His righteousness. Let this encourage you and humble you and bring you joy. Much joy. Jesus is the unique, wonderful, beautiful God-Man there could possibly ever be.

How I long for my tongue not to be limited to mere constraining words, so I can express the beauty of Jesus in more complete terms. When we are glorified, I pray that our fullness in body and mind will allow a more expansive expression of devotion to the One who is beyond superlatives. For now, here is a psalm of praise-

My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

You are the most handsome of the sons of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you forever.
Psalm 45:1-2

Magnitude 6.0 quake hits Napa Valey, photos of damage; Iceland volcano begins eruption

Strong 6.0 quake Rocks San Francisco Bay area, Napa Valley epicenter
A magnitude 6.0 earthquake and at least 25 aftershocks rocked the San Francisco Bay Area early Sunday morning, centered in the Napa County town of American Canyon, causing widespread power outages in Napa, causing minor damage across the region, and forcing the CHP to close down a bridge on a major highway. This was the largest quake to hit the Bay Area since the 6.9 magnitude quake hit Loma Prieta nearly 25 years ago. Initial reports had the quake magnitude at 6.1.
Lyall Davenport ‏@Lyalldavenport twitter photo showing a building destroyed in the Napa Quake

--Structure fires
--Wires down
--Power outages
--Road buckling
--No injuries reported so far

Anthony De Rosa ‏@AntDeRosa twitter photo

PzFeed Top News ‏@PzFeed twitter photo

Napa County Hall of Justice damaged after quake rocks California

Interior damages from malfred05, Instagram

Elizabeth Naylor ‏@ENaylorEvents Twitter photo

Meanwhile, another Iceland Volcano has begun erupting. There was some confusion yesterday as to whether the Bardarbunga volcano had actually begun an eruption, but scientists are unified at this point that indeed it has begun, magma is on the move.

Iceland Raises Aviation Alert As Subglacial Eruption Begins At Bardarbunga Volcano
Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano burst forth with a small eruption Saturday under the ice of Europe's largest glacier, scientists said, prompting the country to close airspace over the area.
Thousands of small earthquakes have rattled the volcano, located deep beneath the Vatnajokull glacier, in the last week. Icelandic Meteorological Office vulcanologist Melissa Pfeffer said Saturday that seismic data indicated that an eruption had begun, with magma from the volcano melting ice within the glacier's Dyngjujokull icecap.

Quick update on Gaza/Isis

Life in Israel today:

Warning sirens have sounded over 4,000 times in Israel over 45 days of fighting with the Gaza Strip.

Israelis take cover as siren sounds warning
of incoming rockets near the Gaza border. Photo by Reuters. Source
Joel C. Rosenberg writes of the war in Gaza against Israel. (Biography source). This is yesterday's update.
War with Gaza Day #46, by Joel C. Rosenberg
(Jerusalem, Israel) — The last 48 hours have seen a dramatic surge of violence here in Israel, and horrific atrocities throughout the epicenter. At the moment it is 2:15 in the morning here, the beginning of Day #46.

Here is the latest:

--Hamas and its allies have fired more than 320 rockets at Israel since Tuesday night when it broke its 11th ceasefire agreement.
--This represents one of the largest surges of violence in the past 46 days.
--Why such a ferocious barrage by Hamas? Because the Shin Bet and IDF just scored an enormous intelligence and operational coup — IDF airstrikes killed three very senior Hamas military commanders.
There is much more at the link.

Bomb Fired From Gaza Kills Israeli Child, Netanyahu Vows Tough Response
In new violence, a 4-year-old Israeli boy was killed by Palestinian rocket fire, while four Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, vowed a tough response to the killing. In all, more than 2,000 Palestinians and 68 people on the Israeli side have died.
A four-year-old Israeli boy was killed by a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon. The boy, named late Friday as Daniel Tragerman, was at home with his parents and siblings at Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the Sha’ar Hanegev Region, close to the border with Gaza, when the attack took place.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! (Psalm 122:6)

Why Should we pray for the peace of Jerusalem?
God tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem in Psalm 122:6-9: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.’ For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’ For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.” From this passage, we see that praying for peace and good to come to God’s holy city benefits those who pray. God promised blessings on those who bless Israel and curses on those who curse her (Genesis 12:3), and since Jerusalem is depicted as the center of Jewish life, it follows that those who pray for her peace and security will be granted peace themselves.
Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is most appropriate for a city whose name literally means “peaceful” and which is the residence of the God of peace. The phrase “peace be upon Israel” is found also at the end of Psalm 125:5 and 128:6, indicating that it was a common farewell blessing. Further, Jerusalem will be the scene of Christ’s return (Acts 1:11; Zechariah 14:4), and at that time He will establish permanent peace with its walls. All Christians should be eagerly awaiting His return and praying for the time when the Prince of Peace will reign in Jerusalem.
Jesus also said that we should be peacemakers, which would include praying for peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). And we are commanded to do our best to live at peace with others. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18). So, God wants us to seek peace among all people, and that would include praying for peace in Jerusalem, especially because of its special place in His heart.

America is not escaping the terrorists' notice. While Hamas is busy fighting Israel in Gaza, ISIS has made threats against the US on our soil. Joel Rosenberg again
  • Increasingly, U.S. officials see ISIS preparing to attack Americans directly in the homeland.
  • “ISIS today represents a direct and growing threat to the United States,” reports National Journal.
To conclude, a biblical perspective by Joel Rosenberg,
At the same time, let’s maintain a Biblical perspective on all that’s happening. Bible prophecy warns us that such terrible things are going to happen in the last days before the return of Christ. Indeed, they are signs that the return of Jesus and the establishment of His kingdom is getting closer. Therefore, as we study the Scriptures, let us not lose heart. Rather, let us be motivated to love our neighbors, and love our enemies, and care for the persecuted church in the Middle East and around the world. We may not have the power on our own to stop such evil. But we can help our brothers and sisters to stand firm in the Lord, and be to brave in sharing the Gospel and to show compassion to the helpless, and to be true lights in the darkness.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

'If we could just get rid of all the bad people, THEN the world would be a nice place'

I watch a Hulu original tv program called The High Road with Mario Batali. According to Wikipedia, Mario Francesco Batali is an American chef, writer, restaurateur and media personality. In addition to his classical culinary training, he is an expert on the history and culture of Italian cuisine, including regional and local variations.

Batali is a chef who put celebrity in the phrase celebrity chef.

In his ten-minute program on Hulu, Batali interviews other celebrities. Some of these famous personalities are from the realms of tv or movies, but some are celebrities in the spheres of finance or philanthropy or of course, cooking. He asks them questions as they go to famous New York City landmarks and iconic places, and the program is just a discussion type chat with the spectacular black and white backdrop of the most famous city in the world.

I watch it for the cinematography. It's beautiful to look at. Also for the length- sometimes I'm too tired to commit to a long program or a movie.

Well, I've watched three or four of these Batali-celebrity chats now, and it's interesting to see the world through an unsaved person's eyes. It is almost unbearably sad, but it's interesting to see and hear how they see the world's problems and what would solve them.

For example, in one chat Mario asked journalist Frank Bruni "What is your dream for how the world might change in our lifetime?

Bruni answered,
"I would love to see a world in which there was no one craven, callous, or inhuman enough to torture another human being. I think if there were no torture happening, the world would be a better place in a whole lot of ripple ways- because that would mean we didn't have the kind of horrible people that we do".
In the tv world of highbrow question and answer sessions such as this, it's supposed to be a profound statement. Unsaved people think they are good. They think that the bad people won't go to heaven. They think if we can just get rid of the horrible people, then there would be no more wars, no more torture, no more evil. But who are the horrible people? As soon as we get rid of one, another pops up.

Christians know that "getting rid of the torturers" only leaves all the rest of us who are depraved, craven, horrible, and compared to God, just as bad as the torturers. And what about the murderers? And the rapists? And the child molesters? Let's get rid of them, too. That leaves the adulterers, the homosexual, the fornicators. So they're out. We still have to deal with the liars, the thieves, the cheats, the oppressors, the gossips, the brutal, the disobedient.

Does that leave anyone? No.

There is none righteous. No, not one. (Romans 3:10).

There is none good but the Father. (Mark 10:18).

They suppress that there has to be a God who is holy and has standards for entrance to His kingdom. (Romans 1:18).

In another segment with Julianna Margulies (of The Good Wife tv show), Batali asked

NYC is known for its busyness, rushing, New York minute aggressive attitudes, rudeness, and snobbiness. (PS think on this for a minute: why is kindness unexpected?)

Margulies answered,
I was here on 9/11. It was almost eerie how much kindness was going on there. People were actually opening doors, and getting up on the subway and giving you their seat, and it was a strange, eerie quietness. After a week of being mesmerized by people's reactions, personally, I remember going into this deli. I was waiting on line to buy something and I heard this guy say "I SAID, f-*&%$-n pastrami!" And everyone applauded. We all were just like, Thank God we're back to New York".

Margulies laughing at the relief they felt
when the spell of kindness was broken
Yes, it must have truly been a relief that the cruel and oppressive regime of kindness was over. Do you want to know why the people in the deli applauded when kindness was no longer required of fellow man after the worst terror act on US soil in history? Because it is hard to be kind. It is not man's natural state. It's tiring for man to be friendly. It's spooky to be in the side of the light.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:20).

I was one of those unsaved people who thought I was good. I sometimes wondered why I'd be allowed to go to heaven, because deep down I knew I'd sinned. I didn't call it sin, of course, but I knew I wasn't perfect. If I followed the thought to its conclusion, and everyone on earth who wasn't perfect was allowed into heaven, then what made heaven perfect? What made it nice to be there if everyone else was there too?

I pushed those troubling thoughts away ("suppressed the truth in unrighteousness") and went on. I am everlastingly grateful that my Savior brought me to a right understanding of my sin, my depraved self, and His holiness. It is always a joy to ponder these two things. The more I know I'm a sinner, the more I appreciate His life on earth, His sacrifice, and His atonement.
“The mark of a mature life is not sinlessness, which is reserved for heaven, but a growing awareness of sinfulness.” John MacArthur
That growing awareness of my sin hurts. It is painful. It hurts just as badly to see people like the above mentioned celebrities try and grapple with the big questions, and come up so woefully short. Charles Spurgeon has this to say about the human condition:
We declare, upon Scriptural authority, that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, and so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful. supernatural, irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit, no human will ever be constrained towards Christ.
If we were to follow Bruni's method of getting rid of all the bad people, there would be only One left: Jesus. Yet, here He is! He is seeking and saving the lost! How marvelous to witness to His excellencies, His nature, His kindness, His perfect demeanor where not one blot mars His visage.  Be grateful today. Be grateful we see Him as He is, and that we see the world as it is- and in His time He will take us from it and bring us home.


Further reading:

An excellent and easy-to-understand essay from Answers in Genesis

Lessons from the Fall: Genesis 3

Friday, August 22, 2014

Matthew West's "Do Something" is a terrible, terrible song

There's a song that many Christians today are enjoying on radio: it's called Do Something by Matthew West. Apparently the background is that he was inspired by an American exchange student who went to Uganda and saved orphans from a terrible orphanage by starting her own.

I'm inspired by proactive Christians who heed the Lord's call to become missionaries. And of course the bible says we should help orphans too.

Here are the lyrics to Do Something. I'm going to tell you why I don't like this song. I'm going to tell you why songs like these saturate the Christian mind with a terrible theology under a guise of a happy tune and moral lyrics.

I think our attempts to live radically can ignore the Bible’s concern that we be radically godly in character. There is no doubt that I am called by God to live sacrificially and generously. My first calling, though, is to know God, to be shaped by him and on that basis to preach the gospel and to live as if it is true. I am called to do all of this right where the Lord has placed me. ~Tim Challies: Radical, A Book Review.Verse 1:
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how'd we ever get so far down
How's it ever gonna turn around

So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, "God, why don't You do something?"
Well, I just couldn't bear the thought of
People living in poverty

Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, "God, why don't You do something?"

He said, "I did, I created you"

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when

Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something

Verse 2:
I'm so tired of talking
About how we are God's hands and feet
But it's easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves

It's alright, "somebody else will do something"
Well, I don't know about you
But I'm sick and tired of life with no desire
I don't want a flame, I want a fire

I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
"I'm gonna do something"

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something (yes, it is)

If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing

It's time for us to do something

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we're never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won't stand still (x3)

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when

Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something

It's time for us to do something (x2)

[Matthew West - Do Something Lyrics]
I'm sure that skilled discerners can spot the theological issues in this song right away.

1. The song is a song about social justice, and the power of man to fix the wrongs in the world. It is a song that sounds good but is actually the opposite of what the bible teaches about man, man's purpose, God, and sin.

Lyric: Saw a world full of trouble now. Thought, how'd we ever get so far down?
Answer: Adam. Eve. Lucifer. Rebellion. Sin.

Lyric: How's it ever gonna turn around?
Answer: Jesus. Revelation 19:11, "Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war"

Lyric: I thought, "God, why don't You do something?"
Answer: Like He's not doing something? He is. John 5:17. "In his defense Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working." (NIV)

Lyric: He said, "I did, I created you"
Answer: UNTRUE. He created us to worship Him and enjoy Him forever.
From the very beginning of the song it shows us how man-centric it is. There are no out-of-control world problems God created us to fix. We are not the solution. We are the problem! God did not create us to fix the world's problems! There is your first opposite-from-the bible issue. In Do Something, it's Bizarro World.
Bizarro World: In popular culture "Bizarro World" has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite of expectations.
Lyric: Well, I just couldn't bear the thought of People living in poverty
Answer: Well Jesus just couldn't bear the thought of people living in sin. Sin is the problem. (Luke 19:10). Poverty isn't. (Matthew 26:11). If more people sang about people living in sin with the reality of hell, perhaps people would 'do something', i.e, witness, instead of throw money at a problem Jesus said would always exist. The problem is not the wallet. It's the soul.

Lyric: Children sold into slavery, The thought disgusted me. So, I shook my fist at Heaven, Said, "God, why don't You do something?"
Answer: Child slavery is the new, sexy, socially conscious charity. I'm not making light of the reality of it. But it has emerged of late and it will sink back to the muck of all the other sins and diseases that occasionally get people's attention, like HIV/Aids, Alzheimer's, adoption, orphans, child abuse, elder abuse, drug abuse... "Causes" come and causes go. People still need the remedy: Jesus.

Secondly, shaking your fist at God for failing to do the things WE think He should be doing? Is that wise? Is that even warranted? No. Ask Job. God answered when Job asked- (Job 38:3-5)

Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?"
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
Who set its measurements?
Since you know...
Job and his friends. Ilya Repin. The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.

Since you know all about what God is doing or not doing, Mr West. Since you know.

As Richard Haas said, in his essay "What's Wrong with Social Justice?"
people like these "are trying to play god over God and tell Him what is best for society."

Lyric: If not us, then who? If not me and you
Answer: It all depends on us? Wow. A heavy load.

Lyric: But we're never gonna change the world By standing still.
Answer: Ah! There it is! 'Change the world.' People, changing the world is NOT OUR JOB. Our job is to witness to the peace and salvation of Jesus Christ, (Matthew 28:19), who has another world for us to dwell in! This is not our home, it is God's. It is the job of God almighty to change it, when He comes. (2 Peter 3:10).

I could continue about the lyrics, the repetitiveness, (drilling into our minds this false vision of our position in Christ), the man-centric attitude, but you get the idea.

Here is what Justin Woodall said about Matthew West's lyrics and all songs like these--
The music behind these songs is relatively good. The problem is theological. We have to abandon notions of musical excellence until we can recapture the transcendence and a healthy dose of the immanence of God. We have sacrificed our theology on the altar of music.
After the wrong-headed theology, the second thing wrong with this song is that it subtly disenfranchises the "Wow! Christians" from the "Quiet Christians". Just as not all are called to be the tongue in the Body, not all are eyes, not all are ears. Some are elbows. Some are toenails. It is the same with the way we live our lives. Not everyone is a Charles Spurgeon. Not all are Martin Luther. Not everyone can be a missionary to China like Eugene Sallee. Not all go to Uganda and start an orphanage.

As the song says, we are all lights, not called to put it under a bushel. Some lights are saving Ugandan orphans. Some lights are on a factory line in Detroit and witness at lunch. Some are quiet, joyful, persevering secretaries in St. Louis. Some are impoverished but fervent recycle scavenge-recycle workers in Calcutta. Some are hospitable shack dwellers in Guatemala. The message of 'Do Something' is wrongly two-fold. First, it tells us that we're here to save the world, and second, it two-tiers Christians, the ones doing something big and sexy, and the rest of us schlubs doing nothing big, sexy, showy, or splashy.

But the quiet influence of a quiet Christian like Larry will change hearts and lives just as much if not more than the splashy new orphanages in Uganda, which will more than likely fall by the wayside in a few years due to corruption, bribery, and lack of funds and materials. Though they will never lack for orphans.

Why don't these contemporary songs ever call us to persevere in a menial job we hate under a boss who doesn't care with co-workers who mock, just so we can be the only light in their dark, Godless lives?

Do THAT, and you're really doing something.


Further Reading

An Unremarkable Faith

Radical: Book Review by Tim Challies

What's Wrong With Social Justice?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Does submitting to governing authorities mean ones like ISIS or Obama?

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1)

That can't mean submit to ... Obama, could it? I can't stand Obama [Nero, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, Herod, Pharaoh, Nimrod, Saddam Hussein, Mao Tse-Tung, Genghis Khan, Stalin, Nebuchadnezzar, Vlad Tepes...]

Why yes. Yes it does.

Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:2)

The events taking place with ISIS in the old Assyria region of Nineveh/Mosul, Babylon/Baghdad are truly horrific.

Babylon is home to the deepest, longest lasting origin of evil on earth. (Genesis 11:4, Revelation 17:18), Babylon was first in evil religion and it will be the last. The angel of the Prince of the kingdom of Persia was strong enough to prevent the angel dispatched from God in reaching earth to bring the message to Daniel. (Daniel 10:13). That's a strong, evil angel.

Nineveh was so evil God threatened to wipe it out, and eventually He did, so thoroughly that the city wasn't even discovered until the mid-1800s! This area of the world is so evil that Revelation 9:14-15 says there are four evil angels bound in the Euphrates River who will be released during the Tribulation. When they are, they will immediately kill a third of mankind!

That ISIS is spawned from that area of the world is no surprise. That they are so vicious is also no surprise. Every man has that evil in him, the potential for it exists in all of us. While not all of us are as bad as we can be, the evil in us does run deep and some leaders are deeply evil. They are NOT an anomaly.

In addition, the area between Iran-Iraq-Syria (Assyria) has always had an evil government. Cain built a city (Genesis 4:17) and Nimrod was first dictator in the world, in addition, he founded Babylon, the very symbol for deceit, evil, and rebellion. (Genesis 10:8-10). The very first man-made government mentioned in the bible had a dictator and a false religion! In that same spot that there is still such evil happening!

From that perspective, the evil in the governments of the land of Assyria should not surprise us. Compared to ISIS, which is not just a terror group but a government, maybe old Saddam Hussein is looking kind of good right now! (in comparison)

So what good can some from submitting to such evil? Did God really mean to submit to governments like that? Who kill children and suspend the rule of law and torture and oppress?


God makes good come out of it.

Like this:

In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them.

And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:19-25)

In the Millennium kingdom, God will BLESS them! They will convert and worship the one True God! There is no higher good than that! What good can possibly come from ISIS terrorists chopping off heads? That area of the world will be personally blessed by the LORD!

I love this prophecy so much. It brings tears to my eyes every time. They are the only three nations mentioned for such blessings. I also love the verse because it says, Assyria, Egypt and Israel will be blessed and the verse explains why. Egypt is His people, they hosted & protected His Son. (Hosea 11:1)

Assyria, the area ISIS is brutalizing, ...Gill's Exposition says of the prophecy regarding Assyria,

"Assyria the work of my hands; not as creatures only, but new creatures, having the good work of grace wrought in their hearts, of which God is the author; and therefore are called his workmanship, Ephesians 2:10 and who must be blessed, because, by this work of grace upon them, they appear to be the chosen of God, and precious, to be his children, and dear unto him, whom he will not forsake, and who are formed for himself, and for heaven, and happiness:"

The ISIS peoples, will be His children? Yes!

We have the advantage of knowing this great work of God is ahead, no matter how many dams are booby trapped, no matter how many heads are chopped off, no matter how many children are killed. God has a purpose, and we know what it is.

What a blessing to know the future. What a blessing to know their future redemption. What a blessing to know His holiness, even in wrath, then He will save.

It's terrible what is happening now in and around Iraq, but the worse things get the better things will be later, because God will show Himself holy and righteous and merciful to Egypt, Israel and Assyria.

Patriarch (a parallel position to Pope)
Anton II of Georgia
Let's say that there are Christians in the Middle East. Many of the people who are called "Christians" are not- they are Eastern Orthodox. EO is a mirror of Catholicism, so if they adhere to the doctrines of EO they are not real Christians.

But for the sake of argument, let's say there are some, because there probably are.

Let's say that they decide for their own self, that though the bible says to subject themselves to ruling authorities, they say, "ISIS is killing children. That's heinous. I will not pay jizya taxes which will support that government, in any way. I will wait for a better government and I will pay taxes then."

But, that is the short view. God has the long view. He said to store up treasures in heaven. As a citizen of heaven, I want to invest in heaven. In the essay above I'd shared the Isaiah 19 passage, in which God says He will bless Assyria, Egypt, and Israel.

In subjecting myself to the ruling authorities on earth (as long as I'm not denying Christ and converting to Islam), I am investing in His blessed government that is to come. I am trusting the LORD to fulfill His promise to bring peace in Assyria, conversion in Assyrian hearts, and the Good ruling authority- Jesus.

The short view is selfish and myopic. Who am I to say, rebel against this government because they're bad? They're ALL bad! There is none Good except Jesus! But in following the bible and subjecting myself to ruling governments, whether they be Queen Elizabeth or ISIS, or Saddam Hussein or George Washington, I am simply waiting for the REAL government to come, investing in it, and storing up treasure. No, I don't want my taxes to go toward the bad things that are happening in the US nor in Iraq, but God will take care of the leaders who deal falsely. My taxes, my submission, my Christian participation, is an investment as a shareholder of the great government to come.

The long view. It's important.


Further reading

What is the significance of the Babylonian Empire in biblical history?"

What And Where Is Babylon Today?

Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen': Pentagon

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 ...