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I don’t post articles about politics.

Why?

First, my intentions on this blog are to exalt the Christian God and edify and challenge believers. If I were to dive into the political swamp, although it might increase my readership, half of the people in my nation might be offended. In His ministry, Jesus didn’t do politics. He didn’t encourage anyone to oppose the Romans occupiers and rulers or take up arms against them. Jesus had a totally different agenda. He came to take away the sins of the world.

“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29).

Jesus told us He would divide, but that division would be because of Him and nothing else.

“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51–53).

Jesus said He would offend, but those offenses would be because of Him alone.

“So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do” (1 Peter 2:7–8).

Second, politics may cause us to trust in people and damage our trust in God.

“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish” (Psalm 146:3–4).

On that note, third, I must maintain an eternal perspective in my life and on this blog. Christians are not citizens of the earth. They are citizens of heaven.

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20–21).

Christians are just passing through and are strangers during our time here.

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).

The United States of America or any other country will all soon come to an end. There is only one eternal ruler and one eternal government. Christians will be rulers in it.

“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9–10).

However, let me make it clear that I don’t reject nor do I condemn those who are worthily engaged in politics to bring about righteous government and oppose sin. It was the Pilgrims, later followed by William Wilberforce in England, who opposed the slave trade and were in the forefront of abolishing that awful trade in the 18th Century. If one feels that the Lord has called them to engage in politics, well then, may he or she succeed in their efforts to do good and stand against evil. May they walk in the light of God’s truth, as they do so. Nevertheless, I must be sure I don’t make their success the source of my hope and joy.

May the Lord direct our paths and give us peace as we seek Him.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy r.gif

I spent the majority of my childhood in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the Indy 500. I grew up in an environment of cars and in particular, cool and fast ones. However, I’ve never owned a cool car nor a fast one.

Except once.

When our children were in junior high school, we bought a used Audi. Gold-flake factory paint job. I knew almost nothing about Audi’s and still don’t. But it was beautiful. It had intermittent wipers and electric windows. They weren’t standard equipment until the 1980’s, and this was the first time I’d ever owned a car with those two features. It was cool to lower and raise the windows without cranking them. I remember sitting in the Audi one day, waiting to pick up my son. It was lightly raining. I turned on the variable speed wipers. Ah, luxury! The result of this is that when I pulled up at stop lights, I began to feel superior to the owners of other vehicles who were driving obviously inferior vehicles

That’s when I knew I had to trade it in for another car, an act for which my son has humorously yet to forgive me. Ownership of that accumulation of metal and plastic was beginning to cause pride to rise in me. So, we returned to owning what some consider boring cars. Ever since we have opted for practicality over beauty and status.

My wife and I now live in a small town in which many of the inhabitants are wealthy. We see Porsches, Teslas, Land Rovers, Audis, and Mercedes Benz’s on our streets every day. We are not wealthy, and we bought our small condo when this city was not so well known and real estate wasn’t as expensive. We are so thankful to the Lord for bringing this to pass. At the time, it was all we could afford anywhere in our hometown, even after looking at places in what is known to some as Felony Flats.

Since those Audi days, I have begun to consider how we Americans and others around the world attach their identities to fancy automobiles. Aren’t they all just vehicles manufactured to convey us to work and to market? No. They are status symbols. However, I understand the feeling of superiority over others, as shallow as that is. The Audi taught me that lesson.

Wealth can be a dangerous thing. It can cause Christians to fail in their obedience to Scripture. In Jesus’ parable of the Sower, He talks about four kinds of soil into which seeds are sown. About the third soil, He said,

“As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22). 1

Riches are deceitful and may cause us to reject certain truths in Scripture.

The Apostle Paul wrote,

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9).

Is it a sin to be rich? No. But it is dangerous, and those rich among us—and almost all Americans are rich by the world’s standards—should take heed.

In the Book of Luke, Jesus told a parable about a man who had an abundant harvest. This is how he reacted to that blessing:

“I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry’” (Luke 12:18–19).

This how the Lord responded to the rich man.

“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20–21).

Jesus was helping us understand that riches may cause us to feel self-sufficient and no longer in need of God. He also wants us to know there is nothing evil or sinful about riches. It is our attitude about them that matters. Wealth has the potential to bring spiritual ruin. We must take heed.

Lord, please help us and give us wisdom how to live as Your devoted followers in a world that exalts wealth.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gid courtesy giphy.com

Some Christians are advocating that believers in Jesus no longer need to be connected to the Old Testament. This is an ill-advised plunge into biblical ignorance and error. Little is needed to disprove it. Jesus Himself was active and spoke in the Old Testament. When God Almighty spoke to Moses in a burning bush in the wilderness, He told him to go to Pharoah to bring His people out of Egypt. Moses asked, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” (Exodus 3:13).1

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14).

When Jesus walked the earth, He laid claim to being the One who spoke those words to Moses.

“‘Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.’ So the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am’” (John 8:56–58).

Jesus’ “I am” statement caused the Jews to pick up stones to kill Him. He was claiming to be God. They considered this blasphemy.

Since Jesus was present and speaking in the Old Testament, He would not agree that we have no need of it. Jesus quoted the Old Testament as a source of truth. For example, when He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil, He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, 6:16, and 6:13.

In addition, When He stood up in the temple in Nazareth to read from a scroll, He quoted Isaiah 61:1-2, which spoke of Him:

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,  ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor’” (Luke 4:16–19).

Jesus quoted Deuteronomy and Leviticus when He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40).

Another reason some Christians want believers to disconnect from the Old Testament is because critics accuse the God who is portrayed there as cruel and barbarous. They bring up that He once destroyed everyone in world with a flood, saving only Noah and his family. This is God’s reason for doing that:

“Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Genesis 6:11–12).

Another criticism is that when Israel was entering the Promised Land, the Lord told them to commit genocide and kill the inhabitants there.

“When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them” (Deuteronomy 7:1–2).

The Canaanites and other peoples in the Promised Land offered men, women, and children as sacrifices. Isn’t it true that our judicial system today would demand justice for people who commit violence against people and the sacrificial killing of men, women, and children?

There must be justice for sins committed on earth. There must be justice in heaven, as well. Thankfully, Jesus has taken our punishment upon Himself, and because of that sacrifice, believers in Him will not face justice for their sins. However, the unbelieving world will. That is not something that anyone would want to experience. That judgment will be dark and eternal. If you are not a Christian reading this, I urge you to believe in the God of both the Old and New Testaments and have your sins washed away by the blood of the One who was punished in your place.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

We should empower ourselves. That’s what we are often told. We should empower ourselves politically, personally, and at our workplaces. For heaven’s sake, don’t let those in power take advantage of you or push you around.

This idea of empowering oneself has, of course, like so many other things in our culture, absolutely nothing to do with the Christian God. We think one way. He thinks in another that is incomprehensible to us. The Lord says so Himself.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9).1

Jesus, our example, had no interest whatsoever in empowering Himself when He walked on the earth. Instead, He demonstrated His Messiahship through miracles, by spiritual power. Even when His life was on the line, instead of using power, He responded this way when Peter cut of the ear of a man in the crowd that came to arrest Him.

“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?’” (Matthew 26:52–54).

Hmm. Six thousand Roman soldiers were in a legion. Multiply that my twelve, and the answer is seventy-two thousand angels. Think they would have been able to take on this evil bunch? Now, that’s empowerment.

Our simple response to such situations is much like Peter’s: Fight until you die on this ground. Better to die fighting than surrender like a wimp.

Empower yourself.

Jesus’ responses: Do not fight earthly power at all. My power is spiritual. There is more going on here than you know.

The Apostle Paul had an experience like many of the prophets in the Old Testament did, as well as John, a disciple of Jesus. Paul was caught up into paradise or heaven. While there, he “heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” (2 Corinthians 12:4).

This is what happened after Paul’s experience:

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7–10).

Wait just one minute. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness? I’m supposed to be weak? Don’t I need to be empowered? I mean, this is Christian ministry! How else will we be influential? Certainly not by being weak.

We are too much like the world.

I urge Christians not to think as the world thinks. Try to think as God thinks. He tells us how to do that. If you want to be empowered, seek to be weak. His power is made perfect in weakness.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy giphy1.gif.

Come, all you global climate change advocates, and lay your claims before the Lord God Almighty. Your conviction that climate change will destroy the earth leaves one eternal truth vacant: Belief in the sovereign power of the One who created all things.

In the 1970’s, scientists held that the earth was going to cool, perhaps bringing in another Ice Age. Decades later, they proclaimed that the earth was instead warming. They called it global warming, and mankind was causing it. They dropped that line of research and now say that it is simply global climate change. What a bold statement. What a deceptive statement. Scientists know that the climate of the earth has been changing without the agency of man for millennia. Long ago, Northern Europe and Great Britain were covered with ice as were parts of the North American continent.

Fort Meyers, Florida, recently was devastated by Hurricane Ian, as most of us probably know. It will cost billions of dollars to rebuild, we are told. Ninety-five people died, at the last count. As terrible as it was, this disaster is far from the worst hurricane in the northern hemisphere. The worst hurricane was the Great Hurricane of 1780. It devastated Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, and the rest of the Caribbean. Around 20,000 people died. However, these hurricanes cannot compare to typhoons in Asia. I encourage the reader to look up the facts concerning these weather disasters. There are too many to list here. You will find that hundreds of thousands of people died. Many of these storms pre-dated the 20th Century, so we can’t blame climate change caused by industries and internal combustion engines.

These are the facts. However, this is not the primary point I am attempting to make in this article. The primary point is that climate change believers somehow think that climate is mightier than God Himself. We have made Mother Nature angry, one of our political leaders said recently. Some think the Earth is retaliating for what humankind has done to it. These are empty pagan beliefs. The Earth is not a living thing. Mother Nature is not some kind of sometimes benevolent, sometimes angry, power.

This is all blasphemous nonsense. These folks make nature a god. It is not. It is something our Creator has made. When the Lord healed a lame man through the ministry of Paul, and people began to worship him and Barnabas, his missionary brother, he said,

“Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them” (Acts 14:15).1

There is only one Creator God and there are no others.

“Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:10b–11).

The following words are what the Lord God Almighty says about Himself:

“I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).

Christians should not think that hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, or famines, or any other natural disaster just happen because they’re just a function of nature. The Lord knows all things, and He knows everything perfectly about what He created. Nothing happens on earth or in the universe which He does not cause or allow. The danger in believing that the Lord is the sovereign cause of all things is that we might start thinking that the Lord is punishing a certain city or place because of their sins. We do not know why the Lord does what he does unless He tells us. We are fellow sufferers with everyone else during our time on earth. When Pilate had mixed the blood of Galileans with their sacrifices, Jesus said, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:2–5).

Our job is to walk with Jesus and believe He is sovereign in the midst of a God-rejecting culture. Leave the reasons for God’s judgment for Him alone.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

While I was waiting to pick up my wife from work the other day, I tuned in to the local public radio station. A woman was going to discuss “America’s Christian culture and it’s patriarchy and misogyny.” Her words made me sit up and take notice. They set off warning bells. Christianity was under attack. I immediately knew why she was repeating this lie: Abortion. Men, of course, domineering patriarchal Christians who hate women, want to rule over them and render them powerless. They want to prevent them from making choices about their own bodies. Oppressive males want women to suffer and bear children they do not want.

These evil pronouncements no longer surprise me. Such misled individuals will quote this passage from Scripture to support their claims:

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (Ephesians 5:22–24).1

Of course, they fail to quote the verses that immediately follow:

“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. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body” (Ephesians 5:25–30).

Should it surprise us that those who deny Jesus should try to hide the truth? No. Not at all. Here’s what the Lord God Almighty says about this:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them” (Romans 1:18–19).

The devil, who inspires such lies and accusations against Christians, is a liar.

Jesus said of him,

“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44b).

Satan doesn’t care that babies are destroyed. On the contrary, that is his will. He is a murderer. It is no wonder those who suppress the truth in our country will manipulate language, twist the truth of God, and ignore realities to claim that Christian patriarchy is evil, and that Christian men hate women. It should not shock us that they actually believe that women have the right to murder their own children, and that their right to choice is more important than the right for their babies to live. It shouldn’t shock us because their foolish hearts are darkened.

Please pray for those who inhabit these evil realms. They think their lives have meaning because they are battling for a great and just cause. Instead, their cause will only bring then spiritual death and inflict death upon others. Pray that the Lord will be merciful, forgive them, and cause them to be born again. Then they will be set free from the lies of the devil and set free to know the wondrous truth of God and Jesus our Savior.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy R.gif.

I would like to introduce the post this week with the words of Micah the prophet about the results of the evil acts of people in his day.

“Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5–6).1

Evil deeds had led to the dissolution of the family and the society.

Jesus refers to this passage when he says that He has come to bring, not peace, but division. “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51–53).

The context of Jesus’ prophecy about the divisions of families is what will happen before He returns. He tells two parables to warn us that servants should always be prepared for that event (Luke 12:35-47).

I have thought that His prophecy about the familial and societal divisions He will bring had to do with some members of a family who are Christians and others who are not. Certainly, there is truth here. It is clear that nations whose citizens are overwhelmingly of religions other than Christianity have divided families, even to the point where some believers are killed by their own relatives because of their faith in Jesus. However, I think we should delve deeper into Jesus’ teaching here. Again, the context of His prophecy concerns the last days. So, I would like to offer this additional aspect: The withdrawal of the Lord’s hand of restraint which must occur before the Lord returns is causing sin to rise. One of the results is family disintegration.  

“And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:6–7).

This nation is turning its back on the Lord, the One who created both it and its citizens. Lawlessness is increasing. This must occur before Jesus returns to pave the way for the man of lawlessness to appear. Moral darkness will increase. We are ignoring God’s moral laws, and it has gotten worse. These sins have brought the dissolution of the family and thus society. Millions of people do not marry but just live together. Twenty five percent of families with children have no father in the home.3  Families are divided as Jesus said they would be. Children murdering their parents is the fastest growing homicide in the United States.2 However, parents killing their children is more common than one may think. “It’s probable that a mother kills a child somewhere in the US once every three days.”4 We should add here that mothers have arranged for the murder of millions of their children since that sin was made legal in 1973.

However, there is hope for us. There is always hope in Jesus. He forgives. He is merciful. It is never too late to turn to Him.

Please intercede for this nation. Please ask the Lord to cause us to repent in massive numbers. We are in serious danger, not only from the disintegration of families and our society, but from the judgment of God.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

2https://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistic

3https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/children-killing-their-parents-is-fastest-growing-homicide-in-us.725179

4https://www.cnn.com/2017/07/07/health/filicide-parents-killing-kids-stats-trnd/index.html

Gif courtesy R.gif.

These days, I’m not as in touch with the news like I have been in the past. I no longer trust the media, no matter the stripe. However, sometimes I can’t resist. When I do, I’m tempted to despair. I hadn’t anticipated the days in which we now live. I didn’t think I would ever be living in a nation where evil is called good, and good, evil. Those who promote these sinful lies are an abomination to the Lord.

“He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 17:15).1

It’s not just the politics over which I am tempted to despair. It is the incomprehensible moral decline and the swiftness of that decay. We have now accepted as normal sexual sins, both natural and unnatural, and even promote them. This nation is on a fast track to destruction, and there will be terrible results. It is very uncomfortable and even frightening that wreaking devastation is one of the ways that God announces to people that He is the Lord. The Old Testament is full of examples. Here is one declaration in which the Lord tells the inhabitants of Mount Seir in Edom what will befall them.

“I will lay your cities waste, and you shall become a desolation, and you shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 35:4).

Cities laid waste. Do we see that happening?

However, I must not, I will not despair. Marilla Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables spoke the truth when she said. “To despair is to turn your back on God.” Christians know why this is true. To despair over circumstances of any kind indicates a falling away from God and a lack of faith and trust in Him. And to be unpleasantly honest, what the Lord is doing in inflicting such ruin is actually a blessing. Somehow, according to Paul, tribulations help us enter the kingdom of God.

“When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:21–22).

The reason this is true, perhaps, is because hardships cause Christians to realize that the Lord is sovereign ruler over all things and thus help us understand that we are part of an eternal kingdom where God alone reigns.

They are also a blessing because they will help remove idolatry from our hearts concerning our trust in the United States. When we trust in men and governments, we are leaning, not upon God, but entities that can offer nothing of eternal value.

“Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales;” (Isaiah 40:15a).

Although our government may contain honorable men and women, this is what the Lord says about Himself and them.

“It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble” (Isaiah 40:22–24).

So, I will resist the temptation to despair and place my trust and hope where it rightly belongs.

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24–25).

Lord, please help us trust in You alone and not in governments. Help us not to despair, whatever the cause.

1All Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Edge images.

No one likes getting sick. I don’t get ill often but enough to cause me to be sympathetic with those who do. I would think this sympathy is universal. Like you, I do not rejoice in the illnesses of others. Thus, you and I will find what follows a sad and concerning statistic. Every day, one million people in the world contract a sexual infection, and over one billion people currently have one or more. There are almost eight billion people on the earth, so that is over twelve percent of the world’s population. This is not good news. This tells us something about suffering caused by sin and about the sexual degradation of the peoples of the earth.

The Lord must respond to the increase of catastrophic sinfulness of those whom He has created. This passage is frighteningly stark:

“And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 6–7).1

This is equally as stark:

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

In spite of the statistics concerning sexually transmitted diseases, it’s interesting, isn’t it, that for decades, Hollywood has encouraged sexual activity while never dealing with its consequences. If it’s not graphic, it’s implied, over and over again. Sinful? You’re kidding, right? You’re a prude if you’re a virgin, and something is wrong with you. Syphilis? Chlamydia? Who cares?

Having said that, I can’t help but wonder what the Lord God Almighty is up to at the present time. Recently, we have heard about the discovery of the viral disease Monkeypox. This is one of its ugly symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control:

“A rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.” 2

It is one ugly virus. I find it interesting that this virus has appeared now that AIDS is in decline, although around 680,000 people died of that viral infection last year.

I can’t state with any authority that these sexually related viruses are part of God’s wrath being poured out to punish the sexual sins of mankind. However, they may be not-so-subtle warnings to unbelievers that what they are involved in is so odious that the sicknesses they suffer are only a hint of how detestable they are in God’s sight. Regardless, since the Lord is sovereign over all things, He is allowing them to inflict people or even causing them.

Now, let me immediately make it known that you, I, and everyone reading this article are fallen creatures. We may not be partaking of the sins about which Jude and John wrote, but we are sinners, as much deserving of the wrath of God as anyone else. The difference, of course, is that we have been and will be saved from that wrath because we have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:9–10).

Monkeypox. Who cares? God cares. If you are in need of deliverance from the result of these sins, cleansing and forgiveness are just a prayer away. Beseech the one who loves you, Jesus, to save you and set you free.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (2011). Zondervan.

2https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/symptoms.html

Gif courtesy giphy.gif.

Many years ago, the Lord gave me a melody for these verses from Isaiah:

“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee. Neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours and lay thy foundations with sapphires” (Isaiah 54:10–11).1

Laurie brought this up to me recently as we were heading out the door to take her to work. I told her that I sang it to her over the phone when she was working at a potato chip factory almost fifty years ago. At the time my thinking was it was the Lord’s promise of comfort when we are in trouble and a promise that He will do something good with precious stones. I had no idea what that meant. But, generally speaking, what I thought about theses verses at the time was true enough.

However, after she mentioned it that morning, I thought about the interesting juxtaposition of the disastrous departure of mountains and hills and God’s kindness in that passage. We live about two hundred miles from the Bitterroots which are part of the Rocky Mountain chain on the western side. We live near the foothills of those mountains. So, I thought about the catastrophe that would affect everyone in close proximity to those hills and mountains if they were to be removed. It is difficult imagine, but it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that such an event would result in the loss of many lives as well as the disruption and discomfort of all those nearby. In fact, in verse nine that proceeded the mountain-removing verses, the Lord brings up the flood during Noah’s time when all living persons, save those on the ark, died. He’s talking some serious business here.

It’s very possible He’s linking the departure of mountains to the end of days. The place in the New Testament where mountains depart is here:

“The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found” (Revelation 16:19–20).2

He told His people that when that happens His kindness would not depart. We are left to contemplate having destruction on one hand and God’s kindness on the other. Although the Lord is kind, the word interpreted as kindness here is not what it means to English speakers today. It is not being polite or behaving like a gentleman or gentlewoman. The word translated as kindness is the Hebrew word “hesed.” The galaxy of words surrounding “hesed” includes mercy and loving kindness, but at the center of its meaning is loyalty and joint obligation. This leads us nicely into the Lord’s next promise that the covenant of His peace will also not be removed. The Lord promised His people through Moses that as long as they obeyed Him, they would be blessed. If they didn’t, they would be cursed. Thankfully, we no longer live under that old covenant. God’s people could not keep their part of the covenant and never have, so a Savior was required to bring a new covenant based upon forgiveness and grace, not law keeping. It is an everlasting covenant and will be in force when mountains depart.

Now we come to the Lord’s last promise in this passage. To comfort those who are afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, He will lay our stones with fair colors and our foundations with sapphires. The best I can come up for an explanation of the meaning for that shoots us directly back to the Book of Revelation.

“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst” (Revelation 21:19–20).

The Lord was making a promise to His people way back in the time of Isaiah that the mountains and hills are going to be removed. However, He will in the end keep His covenant and bless His people with peace those who live in a city with walls that are beautiful beyond imagining.

In response to this joyous truth, I join my voice with this company:

“And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped” (Revelation 5:13-14).

1The Holy Bible: King James Version (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., (2009). Logos Research Systems, Inc.

2All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version except where otherwise noted (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Giphy.

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