And Jehovah answered me, and said, Write the vision,

and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it.
(Habakkuk 2:2 - ASV)


Last Updated

  8 Aug 2022

MARKSWATSON.COM

Watson's Web
Biblical and Prophetic Perspective For Our Times


For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he cometh in his own glory,
and the glory of the Father,
and of the holy angels.
(Luke 9:26 - ASV)


I have set Jehovah always before me:
Because he is at my right hand,
I
shall not be moved.
(Psalms 16:8 - ASV)




Mark can be reached here.  


Contents On This Page

- Job Conclusion Part I
- Job Part 87
- Job Part 86
- Job Part 85
- Job Part 84
- Job Part 83

- Job Part 82
- Job Part 81
- Our Place
- Schisms
- Seal Number Three
- Wicked Counsel
- Hewn Down
- In Praise Of Humility
- A Matter Of Trust
- Malak Elohim (Angel Of the Lord)
- The Fearlessness Of Faith
- Lawfare And Spiritual Warfare
- A Curse

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8 Aug

Job Conclusion - Part I

Yes, that exposition took a very long time and I am sure many of you may not have gotten much out of it. I did. It had been many years since I studied that book with any depth. I discovered many nuances about the book that I had either not known or had long forgotten, while doing this study.

One thing I will never forget. When going though the most difficult trial of my life years and years ago,
Job 13:15 (as read in the KJV) was the verse that kept me going. It is the passage that any saint who is facing serious trial and even death should never forget. That even if the Lord should require our lives, we must continue to put our trust in him.

In the New Testament, this thinking is laid out for us (Revelation 2:10; 12:11). But in the times of the Old Testament and before, which is when this book was almost certainly written, such a sentiment was not well known. As we moved through the book we saw the simplistic theology of Job's friends and their refusal to face facts on suffering, prosperity and poverty that stared them in the face. No, the wicked are not always punished in this life and no, the righteous are not always rewarded. Job knew he was innocent of any crime that could have caused him to deserve his fate, but could not convince his friends. He only had his confidence in God to sustain him.

There may come a time in our lives when we are faced with similar circumstances. How do you think that foreign pastor feels when he is given a heavy sentence for preaching the gospel? When these things happen, sometimes the sheep scatter and the shepherd is left all alone. How does one deal with this? Or with those who are in the Church who begin to mutter harsh things against such a pastor and begin to malign and slander him for being a 'criminal' while he sits in chains for serving the Lord? Like Job, such a pastor is being punished by the devils ministers for doing right. For Job, he too was being punished by the devil and his ministers for doing right - serving God and pleasing him. This is the way the devil operates. He will reward those who do great wickedness and punish those who do right. Look at the rewards that organized criminals have. The money, the mansions, yachts, sexy women and other toys the devil lays out for his children. Herein lies a major fallacy in much of today's western religiosity and prosperity teachings.

We tend to measure the success of a pastor by the size of his Church, the amount of money in the Church coffers and the number of attractive, wealthy people he can get into his pews on Sundays. We measure things materially - not spiritually. We can all be somewhat guilty of this. You can almost hear the thinking..."He doesn't have a big new car and runs that old ramshackle church on the wrong side of town. He must be 'off' in his doctrine". We make a horrible mistake when we look at the material goods as a measure of a man's godliness. It is the same basic mistake that Job's friends made. They saw Job's circumstances and immediately assumed he had committed some horrible sin.

Let us keep in mind that the Lord gave Satan a free hand to deal with Job to see if he would curse God. All the horrors that Satan could conjure up were thrown at Job and even in this most horrible affliction, he maintained his faith and kept his walk with God. What Job endured and the way he came through it, shows a remarkable man of God. God was correct when he praised Job so, in the court of heaven! This in many ways was a test of Jobs faithfulness. His motivation for serving God and his faithfulness. Another word for this kind of faithfulness is loyalty. God was testing Job's loyalty. Now let me ask you this - are you loyal to God and Christ Jesus? Will you withstand your trial or do like Peter did when he denied the Lord (Matthew 26:34)? Who is it that is with Christ at the end of this age? What words are used to describe them (Revelation 17:14)? Look at it like this. God is looking for people he can depend on to assist him in running things once the devil is locked up and his followers/assistants are sent packing. He wants to see who he can trust. Will you be among them, or will you be like those angels who turned and later rebelled against God? The simple question is - can he trust you?

I think another important thing we can also take away from Job is this - when we suffer, we often have to do it alone. Those around us can be hindrances. Job's wife who exhorted him to curse God and die and his friends whose accusatory tongue he had to deal with for the weeks or months of his ordeal - they were no help to him, "...Miserable comforters are ye all."
(Job 16:2b)

We have all heard the saying 'grace under pressure'. That is what Job displayed and something we must all strive for as well. That when trials come we must be ready to endure sufferings as Job did, patiently, in faith and a determination to stand with God, no matter what. Can you do that? This is going to be a lesson that we may all have to ask ourselves as the system of Antichrist rises and persecution becomes more significant in our world. Many in far off nations understand this. We Americans? Most of us do not. Perhaps in a book level understanding, but not in a 'fires of trial' level of understanding. As this new system continues to rise before our eyes, however we may all obtain a healthy dose of both levels of understanding.

One thing I have learned to do when under trial is to detach myself as much as I can from my temporal circumstances. I try and move my mind into positive things, peaceful things and hopeful things. Here I find Paul's advice to be most telling.


And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise, think on these things.
(Philippians 4:7-8 - ASV)



This helps. Be positive, even in midst of your trials. I try hard not to dwell on my problems, no matter how hard they are. Try and keep your mind free from the worries of your particular trial. Another thing? I try my best to stay way from negative people. Folks who are always negative, critical, argumentative and hateful. When I see them coming, I try and make sure they don't see me as I head in the other direction!

Now some of these things are much harder to do if one is in prison or in serious pain. But for many of us, the other trials we must deal with, these things can be done and often help refocus the mind back on God, the source of our strength, rather than the trials we must face.

I find that we must often make our face like flint (Isaiah 50:7) and despite all the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune' that we must endure (as Shakespeare put it), we must push forward toward our goal in Christ. Yes, our inheritance in God. What did God say to his friend, Abram (for his name was not yet changed)?


After these things the word of Jehovah
came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram:
 I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
(Genesis 15:1 - ASV)



It is God himself who is our reward, to be welcomed into his family as one of his sons - that should be our primary goal and what we need to focus on when we are going through the fires. What we have to endure down here in this present age is not worthy of comparison for what God has in store for us.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared with the glory
which shall be revealed to us-ward.
(Romans 8:18 - ASV)

But let none of us ever forget that our Lord showed us the path to life is not strewn with roses and flower petals, but that it is marked with sacrifice and yes, sufferings.

But we behold him who hath been made
a little lower than the angels, even Jesus,
because of the suffering of death crowned
with glory and honor, that by the grace of God
he should taste of death for every man.
For it became him, for whom are all things,
and through whom are all things, in bringing
many sons unto glory, to make the author
of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
(Hebrews 2:9-10 - ASV)

Yes, brothers, the book of Job is certainly for us today. While it is one of the oldest books known to man, it is still very relevant for us today. Particularly for us Christians who live in this age, where more and more of us must suffer for our faith.

We will look at the final part of the conclusion to Job next week, God willing!


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1 Aug

Job Part LXXXVII

So Jehovah blessed the latter end of Job
 more than his beginning:
And he had fourteen thousand sheep,
and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen,
and a thousand she-asses. He had also seven sons
and three daughters.
(Job 42:12-13 - ASV)


Now we see how God blessed Job's latter end. After the trial, the blessing comes. This is a powerful one. God doubles his former wealth and demonstrates his love and graciousness. Job showed himself faithful, even unto death (Job 13:15) and was in no wise about to forsake his God just because things were rough and he was confused about the cause of his tribulations.

The hardest thing for Job was not so much the loss of his goods and social stature, but that God had seemingly forsaken him. Here he showed the devil up for what he was, a liar. Satan figured he would follow his wife's wicked advice to 'curse God and die'. No, job held steady and true and this is his reward.

And he called the name of the first, Jemimah:
and the name of the second, Keziah;
and the name of the third, Keren-happuch.
And in all the land were no women found so fair
 as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them
inheritance among their brethren.
(Job 42:14-15 - ASV)


So Job had some gorgeous daughters. Their names? Jemima means warm or like a dove. Some think this name means 'fair as the day'.

Kezia means the cassia spice. It was a perfume in those days. Cassia is also a kind of cinnamon.

Keren-Happuch means horn of some kind of cosmetic or face paint.

One gets the impression that all the local young men were hanging around Job's house when these women came of age!

The really unusual part of this passage is that Job assigned a portion of the inheritance with the daughters. This was not generally done in those days. Why Job did this is not clear. But Job had a lot of wealth... there was plenty to  go around.

And after this Job lived a hundred and forty years,
and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations.
So Job died, being old and full of days.
(Job 42:16-17 - ASV)

So God gave Job a long life where he could see his family to four generations grow up. This is one reason why I am suspect that this all took place in the time of the patriarchs. Before the flood, men lived many centuries. After it, lifespans steadily declined. 

Job had a full life and the book that was so tragic in its beginning ends on a very positive note.

Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalms 34:8)! Yes, he is. Blessed is the man who has faith and remains faithful to the Lord, even in the midst of great trials!!

We will do a conclusion to Job beginning next week, God willing.

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25 July

Job Part LXXXVI

And Jehovah turned the captivity of Job,
when he prayed for his friends: and Jehovah gave Job
twice as much as he had before.
(Job 42:10 - ASV)


See how good the Lord is! Job, after this horrible trial Job receives God's favor yet again, yes even twice as much as before. A 'double portion' of blessings from the hand of God for standing firm in his faith during this brutal trial. I say brutal because it was, remember the Lord told Satan that all Job had was in his hands (Job 2:6). Yes, the devil can be most brutal. When we see a lot of brutality, we can be pretty sure that the devil is behind it.

The word captivity is used to describe Job's ordeal. In ancient times, being held captive by a band of marauders or a foreign king was considered one of the greatest calamities that could befall a person. One loses all when one is carried away in chains to some far off land, often to be a slave. Thus the word was probably used in a general fashion to describe any great calamity.

It is not clear if his restoration was conditional on his praying for his friends, but probably was as the Lord had directed Job to do so. Job would have probably been in rebellion if he did not. There are things and people we are obligated to pray for and those we are not (i.e., 1John 5:16). When we are obligated to pray, we should do so, when we have a choice in the matter, we should pray that God's (not our) will be done. He see's much more about any situation than we do.

But prayer must always be lined up with the will of God and done in such a way as to not wind up 'bouncing off the ceiling'. There are many admonitions about prayer and when we go into the prayer closet and make intercession we must be careful what we are asking for. Be most careful. I have prayed some prayers in the past and the Lord punished me by giving me what I asked for. It was a harsh lesson I have never forgotten and will never forget. Now, when I intercede for another, I am very, very careful about what I ask of the Lord and like Job here, pray according to God's will, not necessarily my own. You all know the old saying.... be careful what you ask for, you may get it! So before I intercede for anyone I make sure I know what it is I am asking of God and seriously consider all the ramifications of it as much as my limited human mind and understanding will allow. Such careful consideration before one comes before God's throne makes anyone a more effective prayer warrior. 

But Job had to forgive his friends of their cruelty and they certainly did not show him much love or mercy when he was going through the fires of trial. This forgiveness is not specifically stated here in the narrative, but certainly appears to be the principle that the Lord was using on Job. It is hard to pray and intercede for someone with whom you have not forgiven.

So Job prayed and was restored. The Lord is surely good!!


Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters,
and all they that had been of his acquaintance before,
and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him,
and comforted him concerning all the evil that Jehovah
had brought upon him: every man also gave him
a piece of money, and every one a ring of gold.
(Job 42:11 - ASV)

Now all of Job's old buddies and family came by his home and comforted him over the ordeal he had to endure. Job sufferings and restoration are a perfect example for us saints.

Behold, we call them blessed that endured:
ye have heard of the patience of Job,
and have seen the end of the Lord,
how that the Lord is full of pity, and merciful.
(James 5:11 - ASV)

Yes, the Lord is good and merciful! Look how he blessed Job! The question should probably be asked - how long did this restoration take? That is hard to say, We don't know for sure. Reading the passage one may get the impression that it happened right away. I don't think this is the case. This probably overall took many years to transpire. But Job was a wiser man now and like wise men, he probably developed a healthy (though not hateful) suspicion of all of these old friends who would not come near him when things were rough. These 'fair weather friends' were the same ones who forsook him before (Job 19:13ff). Indeed, the rich man always has 'friends'. The poor man? Well, when Job lost all, he had to sit alone on an ash heap and had to scrape his skin with a potsherd. Job was certainly wise enough to understand this and as a result certainly had a far different view of his family and friends than he had before is ordeal. We all would.

Now about the money and the rings. The word used for money only appears on the oldest of the OT books (H7192 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary - Gen 33:19, Jos 24:32 and here in Job). It was probably just an engraved coin or perhaps a measure of silver. Rings were used by both men and women in the east in those days, these too were given to Job. The Hebrew word here used for rings can mean nose or earring.


So Jehovah blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning:
And he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels,
 and a thousand yoke of oxen,
and a thousand she-asses.
(Job 42:12 - ASV)


In the final passages of Job, we get an idea of just how much Job was blessed by God after his ordeal. What is listed here is considerable wealth. How he acquired it again, is not clear though some have suspected that Job's old friends may have contributed to his wealth. After the divine rebuke they received, such an idea seems most plausible.

We will get to the last section of Job next week and God willing, do a conclusion and wrap up our look at Job soon thereafter.

Yes, this has taken a long time, but it is something that I have long wanted to do... even since my days in College - do a long detailed study on Job and set it to paper and book...

...well... that was in the days before the internet!!

God bless and keep all of you who put your trust in Jesus Christ!

Amen.


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18 July

Job Part LXXXV

Then Job answered Jehovah, and said,
I know that thou canst do all things,
And that no purpose of thine can be restrained.
Who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge?
Therefore have I uttered that which I understood not,
Things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
(Job 42:1-3 - ASV)

Job has finally come to his senses. His earlier great swelling words attempting to justify himself before God have now given way to humility. Here he confesses his ignorance about the things of which he had spoken and acknowledges God's power and wisdom. It is noteworthy here how Job's attitude has changed totally. Whereas before he was demanding a hearing before God and just about accused him of being unjust, now his whole outlook has fundamentally changed. Job has been humbled. One aspect of this that probably should be mentioned is that Job understood that God was all powerful, and that he was all wise. But there appears to have been something lacking in his outlook, and that was total submission to the creator; even and especially in his hour of trial. He did not submit himself to God's will but rather, questioned God's justice and wanted a 'special hearing' to argue with God about the way he ran things. This attitude is now gone and now we see a person who has learned an important lesson - don't argue with God or question his ways or wisdom, we are neither wise enough nor strong enough to win any case brought before him. The duty of man is to trust and obey and in Job's case particularly, to submit.

Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak;
I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear;
But now mine eye seeth thee:
Wherefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.
(Job 42:4-6 - ASV)


Job now approaches God with a different attitude, one of humility and submission, and begs the Lord to hear him, for he does not have to. Now, rather than trying to instruct God, Job now is in far more teachable disposition. FYI, the word 'demand' above is probably better translated here as to ask or to request and it is the word H7592 In Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary.

But Job's humility goes even further than just repentance of his previous loud acclimation of innocence and his insinuation of God's injustice. After coming into contact with God he realizes just how vile and sinful he is. Job is utterly ashamed of himself. I can only imagine how he felt having said so many harsh things in the bitterness of his soul and then having come face to face with God, who was none too pleased with what he heard, nor the attitude that his servant had displayed.

Brothers... humility, true, honest humility is one of the first steps towards godliness. I am not talking about dissembling or putting on a false front of humbleness when one is still proud, boastful and arrogant in his soul. No, to understand what man is, truly is, is to be humble. Our lives are like a puff of smoke and is short of span and dissipates almost as soon as it forms. In the overall scheme of things eternal, it is barely worthy of anyone's attention.

And it was so, that,
 after Jehovah had spoken these words unto Job,
Jehovah said to Eliphaz the Temanite,
My wrath is kindled against thee,
and against thy two friends;
for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right,
as my servant Job hath.
(Job 42:7 - ASV)

Now the Lord turns his attention away from Job to his miserable comforters. He starts off with Eliphaz who was the first to speak and was in all likelihood the eldest among them. Moreover, he seems to have set the tone in the case against Job. But the other two friends are also included in the divine rebuke.

Of note is that only two of Eliphaz's friends are mentioned (Bildad and Zophar in the following passages). Again, the mystery of Elihu and his speeches is further re-enforced here. He is completely left out. Elihu just appears and then disappears from the narrative, though several chapters are devoted to his speeches. Matthew Henry thinks that Elihu escaped rebuke because he acted more as a moderator than an accuser of Job. I personally do not share that view, but thought it worth mentioning. It may be that he escaped divine censure because of his youth. Perhaps, but again, it is not a view I share.

But God is angry with these three and makes his anger plain. The things they spoke were not right and somehow, on some level, they may have known that they were not right, but spoke them anyway. One can only wonder if they had developed a kind of 'institutional mentality'; one that is so common among those in high Church officers but also in government. To have ones opinions depart from others in the group is to invite calls of 'heretical' or 'unpatriotic' thought. Rather than speaking what is right and true, such people test the political and theological winds and then speak the words that are best suited to them - almost always to further ones own position rather than to get to the truth - the whole truth.

But we cannot underestimate the anger of the Lord here. What they said truly raised the ire of the Lord. To me one of the greater sins they may have committed was to show so little pity and mercy to their friend who was in such a lamentable state and to start to sound 'pharisaic' when Job was in such suffering that he had to scrape his skin with a potsherd.

Now therefore, take unto you seven bullocks and seven rams,
and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt-offering;
and my servant Job shall pray for you; for him will I accept,
that I deal not with you after your folly;
for ye have not spoken of me
the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.
So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad
the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went,
and did according as Jehovah commanded them:
and Jehovah accepted Job.
(Job 42:8-9 - ASV)



These three had sinned now they had to offer sacrifice to God for having offended him. The number seven here has significance in the Mosaic law, but we must remember this was probably written many years before Moses. We don't know where they got the animals for sacrifice as each was far from their home. But they probably had to go to market, buy them and then sacrifice.

The real thing here I think of note is that Job now has to act as intercessor for these three. God would only listen to Job's supplication on behalf of his friends folly. God will accept Job, he will be lenient with these three only after Job intercedes on their behalf. Who knows, the Lord may have prepared the 'trials of Job' for each of the three because of the things they said, should Job not have interceded! It is never, EVER wise to anger the Lord.

So they did as they were bid and all were accepted. I think it worth mentioning that even while the Lord was chiding Job in the previous chapters, he vindicates Job here, fully. Job had spoken right, his friends wrong and even though Job got on his high horse and began to demand 'justice' from God, in essence he was correct in the things he had said. You have God's word for that. "...ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath."

I think the lesson here is that God understands our human weaknesses and our limited understanding of things. Once Job humbled himself before God, he was set right. It may have been that the other three after hearing the Lord rebuke Job as he had, they may have gotten puffed up feeling 'justified'. They could not have been more wrong.

We will continue the last couple of sections of Job in the following couple of weeks, God wiling!!


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27 June

Job Part LXXXIV

Canst thou draw out leviathan with a fishhook?
Or press down his tongue with a cord?
Canst thou put a rope into his nose?
Or pierce his jaw through with a hook?
Will he make many supplications unto thee?
Or will he speak soft words unto thee?
Will he make a covenant with thee,
That thou shouldest take him for a servant for ever?
Wilt thou play with him as with a bird?
Or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens?
Will the bands of fishermen make traffic of him?
Will they part him among the merchants?
(Job 41:1-6 - ASV)


Here the Lord continues to interrogate Job on the wonders of nature. He moves on to a different member of the animal kingdom, Leviathan. What this animal is, is not 100% clear. Some think it refers to the whale. Others to the crocodile. Since the previous passages dealt with the the Hippo it seems logical that another river creature would follow on. Furthermore, the descriptions that follow do seem to indicate that this is a crocodile (see verse 15) and not some mythical sea monster as some have opined. I hate to keep reminding everyone of this, but remember this is poetry. The literary device used in Job allows for considerable license. The idea here is not to give us a lesson in zoology, but to show God's power and wisdom and Job's ignorance and impotence over the animal kingdom

The passages above ask Job if he has any kind of power over this dangerous beast. The passages poetically describe the act of taming this wild beast. Can Job tame it? Get a rope and try and control its fury? Bore a hole in its jaw and get it to do what he wants? No. This beast defies training in such a manner. Job cannot make any kind of agreement with this creature. Verse six is not clear, but seems to mean that when men go out to fish, they don't mess with this creature. His flesh (in those days) was not a marketable commodity.

Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons,
 Or his head with fish-spears? Lay thy hand upon him;
Remember the battle, and do so no more.
Behold, the hope of him is in vain:
Will not one be cast down even at the sight of him?
None is so fierce that he dare stir him up;
Who then is he that can stand before me?
Who hath first given unto me, that I should repay him?
Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.
I will not keep silence concerning his limbs,
Nor his mighty strength, nor his goodly frame.
Who can strip off his outer garment? Who shall come within his jaws?
Who can open the doors of his face? Round about his teeth is terror.
His strong scales are his pride, Shut up together as with a close seal.
One is so near to another, That no air can come between them.
They are joined one to another; They stick together,
so that they cannot be sundered. His sneezings flash forth light,
And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
Out of his mouth go burning torches, And sparks of fire leap forth.
Out of his nostrils a smoke goeth, As of a boiling pot and burning rushes.
His breath kindleth coals, And a flame goeth forth from his mouth.
In his neck abideth strength, And terror danceth before him.
The flakes of his flesh are joined together: They are firm upon him;
they cannot be moved. His heart is as firm as a stone;
Yea, firm as the nether millstone. When he raiseth himself up,
the mighty are afraid: By reason of consternation
they are beside themselves. If one lay at him with the sword,
it cannot avail; Nor the spear, the dart, nor the pointed shaft.
He counteth iron as straw, And brass as rotten wood.
The arrow cannot make him flee: Sling-stones are
turned with him into stubble. Clubs are counted as stubble:
He laugheth at the rushing of the javelin. His underparts
are like sharp potsherds: He spreadeth as it were a
threshing-wain upon the mire. He maketh the deep
to boil like a pot: He maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.
He maketh a path to shine after him; One would think
the deep to be hoary. Upon earth there is not his like,
That is made without fear. He beholdeth everything that is high:
He is king over all the sons of pride.
(Job 41:7-34 - ASV)


The passages above need no real comment. They seem pretty clearly to describe the Crocodile, his power and wonder in poetic terms. His scales (vs 23), his heart, (vs 24), how he rises up out of the water (vs 25); his skin so strong that the spear cannot get past that tough skin and scales (vs 29). This is a fearsome animal and the rest of the passage describes him.

We will get to the final chapter of Job sometime in mid-July, God willing!!


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20 June

Job Part LXXXIII


Then will I also confess of thee
That thine own right hand can save thee.
(Job 40:14 - ASV)


God had finished asking Job some pointed questions about how much power and majesty he possessed in the last section and here the Lord just remarks that if Job can do those things, if he has such power, then the Lord will acknowledge Job's 'infinite power' and 'wondrous wisdom'. Salvation is of the Lord and him alone. Men cannot save themselves, not from the hand nor the ire of the Lord.

Behold now, behemoth,
which I made as well as thee;
He eateth grass as an ox. Lo now,
his strength is in his loins, And his force
is in the muscles of his belly.
He moveth his tail like a cedar:
The sinews of his thighs are knit together.
His bones are as tubes of brass;
His limbs are like bars of iron.
(Job 40:15-18 - ASV)

Here the Lord speaks about a member of the animal kingdom known for his power and strength, probably the Hippopotamus. Here the Lord explains to Job the power and physical strength of the beast. Some translators think that it was actually the elephant rather than the Hippo that is described here. Frankly, we cannot be sure. But we must remember that this poetry lends itself not to exactness, but rather linguistic beauty as well as colorful descriptiveness. It is also possible that this describes some animal related to the Hippo or Elephant that is now extinct. I say this because the characterization of a tail that moves like a cedar does is not to my mind, fitting of any alive today. Others have opined that it could be a crocodile or some such amphibious creature. In short, we can speculate, but we cannot say for sure what animal is meant here.

But the hippo can be a very dangerous animal, even for humans. They can tip over boats and some people have been killed as a result of attacks by them. They are one of the more dangerous animals in the world.

What God is showing Job though, is the power of this beast. Can he understand such a beast, let alone create it as he has done?


He is the chief of the ways of God:
He only that made him giveth him his sword.
(Job 40:19 - ASV)

Here the Lord lays out to Job that while the Hippo may be dangerous and deadly to men, he is not too powerful for God, despite his size and power.

Surely the mountains bring him forth food,
Where all the beasts of the field do play.
He lieth under the lotus-trees, In the covert of the reed,
 and the fen. The lotus-trees cover him with their shade;
The willows of the brook compass him about.
 Behold, if a river overflow, he trembleth not;
He is confident, though a Jordan swell even to his mouth.
Shall any take him when he is on the watch,
Or pierce through his nose with a snare?
(Job 40:20-24 - ASV)


Here we simply get more poetic descriptions of Behemoth, its habitat and ways.

The above is a description of one very powerful beast of God's creation. This interrogative of God to Job is meant to show not only God's power but Job's folly and impotence. Chapter 41, which we will get to next week, God willing, deals with another powerful beast of God's creation.

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13 June

Job Part LXXXII


Then Jehovah answered Job out of the whirlwind,
and said, Gird up thy loins now like a man:
I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
Wilt thou even annul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me,
 that thou mayest be justified?

(Job 40:6-8 - ASV)


The Lord continues his answer to Job. As we can read, the Lord was none too pleased with Job's attitude. But was gracious to a man whom he loved and respected (Job 1:8) and gave him an answer to his request (Job 31:35). So the Lord is continuing his response to many of Job's reckless words.

On the whirlwind, some commentators wonder if the wind blew all the while God was speaking in the previous chapters and then was quiet when Job spoke. Others wonder if the comment about the whirlwind was meant to signify that it had increased to show the Lords displeasure. Job had humbled himself, but it may signify that he may not have been sufficiency rebuked. We don't know, but the fact that the passage mentions again that the Lord spoke out of the whirlwind may have a significance that escapes me. Perhaps Job had prostrated himself before God when he spoke (both here and in 38:3) and God was merely telling Job to rise up and answer him. This may have been repeated because there was an interlude in order to give Job a chance to respond to the Lord's questions. As we saw from a recent update, this Job did by saying he was nothing and that he will remain silent from here on out.

But the Lord is not finished with Job. No, God is pretty upset or at least wants to make a clear point to Job and any observers about who runs things and if those who question his wisdom and judgment have any wisdom and judgment of their own. It is as if to say to Job and his comforters - You think you know so much? Then answer me these questions, Mr. Know-it-all! Brothers let none of us ever get to the point where we question God's wisdom, judgment or ways. He knows best, even when it may not seem like it to us. He has his own purposes and we are merely tools and vessels in the masters hands. Let him shape us and use us to his own good purpose and cease with the complaints and 'whining'. You and I think in terms of tomorrow, next week or next year. God in terms of an eternity that you and I can barely fathom with our finite perspective.

How can we men charge God with unrighteousness? How dare Job contend with God with his words. It was pure folly. What to me is rather striking regarding God's answer is that he never really answers Job directly on the key question in his mind. He never tells Job the specific 'why' of his painful, gut wrenching ordeal. The Lord could have explained to Job that this was a trial of his faith and to respond to Satan's accusations. But he does not do that. He leaves the whole question as a mystery to Job and his comforters.

God begins the preparation for his further interrogation with gird up thy loins. He tells Job to stand up like a man, and asks him to answer some questions. Job had demanded that God answer him, now the Lord is turning the tables on Job, let Job now answer him. Job may have been prostate or seated as the Lord was speaking (we don't know) but here he is told to gird up his loins. Since ancients mostly wore robes, this was merely an expression of tying something like a belt around them and to stand up.

Wilt thou even annul my judgment?
Wilt thou condemn me,
that thou mayest be justified?
(Job 40:8- ASV)

The very question the Lord puts to Job demonstrates how foolishly arrogant Job's words were. Job was wrong. Very wrong and now it is surely dawning on him just how wrong he was. Can we do the same thing? Can we admit when we are wrong? It is not always easy, but it is a key trait of a wise man.

I make mistakes. I have been known to be wrong, not often, certainly not habitually, but yes, I have made some mistakes; a couple of real big ones (dealing with trust). But one key lesson I have learned on the road to wisdom is this - never repeat the same mistake. Admit you messed up, know how you messed up, learn from it and never do it again

Job argument in essence was that he was more righteous than God. This was one of the few points Job's miserable comforters got right (sort of) about Job - he was behaving like he was righteous in his own eyes.

Or hast thou an arm like God?
And canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
Deck thyself now with excellency and dignity;
And array thyself with honor and majesty.
Pour forth the overflowings of thine anger;
And look upon every one that is proud, and abase him.
Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low;
And tread down the wicked where they stand.
Hide them in the dust together;
Bind their faces in the hidden place.
(Job 40:9-13 - ASV)



God continues to challenge Job about this 'great wisdom' and power he posses that has the temerity to question the living God. Can he show himself in the splendor of God? I think of God on his throne in heaven in all his glory and majesty and all the angelic and spiritual attendants that wait upon his words and commands. No, Job had not even seen this. Few have and been able to tell us mortals about it. The Apostle John was one of those who could and did.

Here is what he saw.

Straightway I was in the Spirit:
and behold, there was a throne set in heaven,
and one sitting upon the throne;
and he that sat was to look upon like a jasper stone
and a sardius: and there was a
rainbow round about the throne,
like an emerald to look upon.
 And round about the throne were four and twenty thrones:
and upon the thrones I saw four and twenty elders sitting,
arrayed in white garments; and on their heads crowns of gold.
 And out of the throne proceed lightnings
 and voices and thunders. And there were seven lamps
 of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;
and before the throne, as it were a sea of glass like unto crystal;
and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne,
four living creatures full of eyes before and behind.
(Revelation 4:2-6 - ASV)



Can Job deck himself in this kind of splendor? Job had not even witnessed this kind of majestic power, let alone be able to display it himself.

Then the Lord interrogates Job about what mighty power he possesses. Can he show his rage and humble the proud? Can he do this with a simple glance? God can do these things, can Job? Of course not. Can he crush the wicked should he choose to? No.

Can Job hide these men in the dust? The meaning of this passage has been debated. Some think it means a person prostrated before God whose faces are in the dust. I personally don't think this is what is meant. I think he is referring to death. The phrase bind their faces in secret is also not quite clear. It could mean that they lie in a grave or pit covered up by dirt and no one can see their faces any longer. As this is poetry, it may very have symbolic reference to many things.

We will continue our look at Job next week, God willing!

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3 June

Job Part LXXXI

Hast thou given the horse his might?
Hast thou clothed his neck with the quivering mane?
Hast thou made him to leap as a locust?
The glory of his snorting is terrible. He paweth in the valley,
and rejoiceth in his strength: He goeth out to meet the armed men.
He mocketh at fear, and is not dismayed;
Neither turneth he back from the sword.
(Job 39:19-22 - ASV)


The Lord continues his reply to Job. In the Lord's panorama of the animal kingdom, he now comes to the horse and then the war horse. God notes the fearlessness of this animal. Poets, warriors and authors and others have remarked most colorfully, emotionally and poetically on this magnificent animal throughout the ages. God here asks Job half mockingly, if he had anything to do with the power, fearlessness and grandeur of this noble part of the Animal Kingdom.

The quiver rattleth against him, The flashing spear and the javelin.
He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage;
Neither believeth he that it is the voice of the trumpet.
As oft as the trumpet soundeth he saith, Aha!
And he smelleth the battle afar off,
The thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
(Job 39:23-25 - ASV)


Again, we see how fearless this animal is and how he flies into danger in the chaos of battle. The Biblical Illustrator has a rather interesting section on these passages. I found their brief entry on the horse and how so many famous people respected them most interesting.

Yes, this is a fearless animal. Yes, the Lord, even our God made this creature so.

Is it by thy wisdom that the hawk soareth,
And stretcheth her wings toward the south?
Is it at thy command that the eagle mounteth up,
And maketh her nest on high? On the cliff she dwelleth,
and maketh her home, Upon the point of the cliff, and the stronghold.
From thence she spieth out the prey; Her eyes behold it afar off.
Her young ones also suck up blood:
 And where the slain are, there is she.
(Job 39:26-30 - ASV)


Now he moves to another proud member of the animal Kingdom, the Hawk. Does the Hawk consult with Job before she flies off on how to do it? With Job being earthbound, such aeronautical consultations hardly seem likely

The last passages demonstrate that this is a predatory bird. The connotation in the language is that the young suck up the blood voraciously. These birds have been known, at least in ancient times, to carry off young children.

Moreover Jehovah answered Job, and said,
Shall he that cavilleth contend with the Almighty?
He that argueth with God, let him answer it.
Then Job answered Jehovah, and said, Behold,
 I am of small account; what shall I answer thee?
I lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken,
and I will not answer; Yea, twice,
but I will proceed no further.
(Job 40:1-5 - ASV)


Here the Lord is far more direct in his chiding and reproof of Job. Job's words, while spoken in the depth of the confusion of his soul were not correct and did indeed get the Lord attention and his displeasure. 'Do you presume to instruct me, Job'?  Is one very loose way of looking at the passage. Since Job took it upon himself to do so, he must answer those questions God put to him. The Lord is clearly upset with Job's arrogance.

How many times have we questioned God's wisdom in the ways he deals with us? Do we have that right? Job went through the ringer for something that was no fault of his own and the Lord was not well pleased with some of his responses and attitude. But can we honestly say that none of us have questioned God's ways when we feel to have been treated unjustly? Let us take careful note of the Lord's reply to such questioning.

Then Job replies to the Lord and promises to keep his big mouth shut in the future! He admits that he is nothing and is of no consequence. In short, Job is duly humbled by God and his interrogation.

So in the poetic style of the book, Job tells us clearly that he will say no more.

This is usually a wise course. 

Be not rash with thy mouth,
and let not thy heart be hasty
to utter anything before God;
for God is in heaven,
and thou upon earth:
therefore let thy words be few.
(Ecclesiastes 5:2 - ASV)



Job had been better off if he had suffered in silence and withheld his tongue from lashing out at things he simply did not understand.

That is a lesson we should always remember.

We will continue our look at Job next week, God willing!!


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27 May

Our Place


For the body is not one member, but many.
If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand,
 I am not of the body; it is not therefore
 not of the body. And if the ear shall say,
Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body;
it is not therefore not of the body.
If the whole body were an eye,
where were the hearing?
If the whole were hearing,
where were the smelling?
But now hath God set the members
each one of them in the body,
even as it pleased him.
(1 Corinthians 12:14-18 - ASV)


Let us look at something that we all who know the Lord should be asking ourselves from time to time. What is my place in Christ? What is my job in the body and in the Kingdom?

It is easy to get down and a little depressed because we are not all 'great men of God', duly praised by the corporate Christians and Social Media storms. We can perhaps feel a little useless if we are not the big 'rock star' whose name is bantered about the media as some 'Christian light' and not getting the praise and attention they do. It is easy to wonder why we have not been chosen to be a big name pastor or evangelist; a famous musician or famous humanitarian, parading our 'good works' for all to see. It is easy to feel kind of insignificant and even, well... useless to God.

But we should never feel that if we are indeed walking with Christ. Fame and a million Social Media followers does not make a true man or woman of God. A Christian 'idol'? Yes, in many cases. But it is hardly proof of a man who has been born again, broken and is in the process of being remade into the image of Christ - who was exceptionally humble. Such true men of God know the value of true humility and don't seek fame for fame's sake. They seek Christ for Christ's sake. This brothers and sisters, is a tell tale sign of those who are in the public eye who are really Christ's or those who are just in it for themselves or for the 'others' they are secretly working for - a major problem in Christendom today.

But we must not let fame and fortune, the masses pointing and telling each other what a 'wonderful' person that person is to become our guide. Such things happening to us quite frankly, is not a very good sign.


Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!
for in the same manner did their fathers
to the false prophets.
(Luke 6:26 - ASV)



Let us be careful and never let ourselves become 'fame seekers'.

The better way to go is to find out what God wants us to do, find out where he needs us and then go there and do that.

Let us say that you are a talented Christian musician and singer. I mean you are really good, and famous musicians and agents have told you as much. You have been offered a major contract with a label and all the marketing and support those people can offer to launch your career. Yet God wants you out on the mission field. He tells you to forsake your dreams of fame and fortune and to go and preach the gospel in the Congo. What is that person going to do? This is the kind of test the Lord will often place before those who really want to serve him. It is really in some ways, a test of motivation. What are you placing first, your career and your future as a major 'Christian' artist or God and his kingdom?

Does the world really need yet another 'Christian' singer/pop star making records today? I would say that it needs another one like a person needs a third hand or a 6th toe on each foot. So one has to ask oneself what is their real motivation for seeking such a career? I say this not to denigrate artists and those people who are famous that God has called to such things, but to show you the mentality and outlook that we must all take if we are to be of any use to God and his kingdom. We have to put him first and as often as not, it will entail some kind of sacrifice on our part - away from self and towards Christ. We must not love ourselves more than our place in Christ and we must not love this world, its pomp or glory or the trinkets the devil will surely put in our path that would lead us away from our mission in Christ.

One thing the Lord has been speaking to me about privately is that I need never concern myself with what others think about me. Not friends, not family - not anyone but God and to a lesser degree, what other true believers in Christ think. This is so important particularly in these times where such contempt for the gospel and Christians is growing, we just have to cease concerning ourselves about what the world thinks about us. I would go so far as to say this - if the world, lost souls, unsaved family and associates all think you are wonderful and great, you are probably on very shaky ground, spiritually. Let me ask you this, could a real Christian have been acceptable to the residents of Sodom? Were they praised when they lived in Nazi Germany? No. So as our world now is more and more taking its moral cues from the spirits of darkness, let us consider carefully whom we should please - God or man; the God of all things or the King of Sodom; Jesus Christ or a future Adolph Hitler? These are key questions because I don't see the world getting any better, spiritually or morally speaking, but worse... much worse.

So what is your place in Christ? Are you chosen to be a deacon? A pastor? A prophet? An interpreter of tongues? A missionary? An evangelist? A scribe? How is God using you? How will he use you in the future? You may be little more than the forgotten pastors assistant today, but if you are faithful, you may find yourself standing before the God of all things being given a special charge from God, as Moses was. Or be called to be a prophet like Samuel or Elijah; or be called to lead a nation not yet created for God's people in these end times. I don't know where your job is and I don't know where God will eventually lead me. But this I know, what he has given me to do today, that I will do. The rest will be revealed due course.

May God bless and keep each of you in Christ and guide each of you into the ministry that best serves his kingdom.

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14 Apr

Schisms

One would have hoped that during this time of conflict and war, that the Church could be a real instrument for healing, peace and some kind of reconciliation. But sad fact is, that the seeds of this current war could be seen germinating in the Church a few years back. There was a schism, many of you may remember back in 2018, involving Ukrainian Church and the Russian Orthodox Church. For those wanting a quick take on this, Wikipedia's entry is pretty good (2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism).

One could see a serious problem back then. I won't get into the politics of all of this. Rather, what I do want to say today is that what I see is a very serious problem with what calls itself Christianity today. It's a problem that has been with the Church for a very long time. In my perusals into history, I do like to look into the history of Byzantium. This is where Orthodoxy really comes from, the Eastern half of the Roman Empire. As you all know, there as a much earlier schism between east and west long ago. The Eastern Church refused to be ruled by the Pope in Rome (the West), the two excommunicated each other and the schism continues to this very day, though the mutual anathema's were reversed back in the 1960's. Nevertheless, the split remains. This is known as The Great Schism.

Even within the Church in Russia, there a serious crisis brewing within it.

One of the big problems today in my humble view is that the Church, or what calls itself the Church is too tied in with the temporal political order. This is very true in Russia, where the Orthodox Church has long been closely tied in with the Government. This was true during both the Czarist era as well as the days of the old Soviet Union. Many of the priests were really spies for the government. Just before the Bolshevik revolution, a Father G. A. Gapon (1870-1906) was a very popular working class hero, but it turned out that his movement was heavily influenced by the Russian secret police. The Church in Eastern Europe during the communist era has a long history of this kind of thing. But truth be told, such things are not completely unheard of here in the west. The Church is a power in any society and consequently those who run state security will often have their eyes on the Church and any religious group, person or entity that they cannot control, intimidate or otherwise co-opt.

Look at how China is dealing with Christians. Look at some of the things going on in Russia to Christians who worship outside of the State approved Orthodox Church. Great change can be fomented with religion. But we must not mistake temporal political change wrought by the administrative Church for God's will. The Church may claim to speak for God, but I think we all can see in our times, that this is not often the case, much of the Church having lost its spiritual way. 

I have long seen much of the modern Church and its administrative, political, and financial structures as being probably the greatest impediment to many believers being able to act in concert with God and the Holy Spirit, rather than the passing political whims of the temporal state and the temporal desires of religious leaders. I think this has been a key problem with the Church since the days of ancient Rome and Christianity's general acceptance in Roman society. As time passed, a high office in the Church could be a path to weave ones way into political power. A low born person could move up the hierarchy, get some influence and as you all know, the Church became very rich in the Dark and Middle ages as well as during the Renaissance. Religion was big business. Need I remind you of the splendid wealth some Churchmen possessed back in those days?

But you see, I think a key missing ingredient the Church has today is independence from temporal state affairs. Mind you, it cannot ignore key issues going on around it, but it should do so with an eye towards the Kingdom of Heaven and the will of God, not the desires or dictates of the State. Christ was very clear that he called us out of this world. Yet much of the Church too often appears to be not just too close to the world, but married to it. It is supposed to be the future bride of Christ and instead, spiritually speaking - parts of it are 'available' for state use.

I think this is why there are some of these schisms. The Churches in a great many places are just too close to the state, so they follow state policy - consciously and unconsciously - rather than building up the brotherhood in Christ for his kingdom, they too often build up the state, often for godless activities.

But not all schisms are bad. When a body of believers decide to leave a denomination because of key doctrinal issues based solidly on scripture, and wish to hold onto scripture, this is not a bad thing. For we Christians are duty and honor bound to serve God first, not the Church first. Churches are run by men and men are often mistaken, corrupted, compromised or just plain evil.

Now back in the Middle ages, ordinary people could be excused for following the Church when it went in the wrong direction. Why? Because there were no Bibles in the hands of people. Only the Church and its priesthood had the Bible. The people had to rely on Church interpretation of scripture. This put tremendous power in the hands of the Church to interpret or deliberately misinterpret things in order to serve the state, the king or the emperor. In return for the favor of the Church, the state rewarded the Church with wealth and power.

But today, the Bible is translated into most, but not every language. People can read the scriptures for themselves. Men and women who have been born again and have the Holy Spirit within them (probably not such a great number today) can read the Bible, get guidance and use their discernment as to what is right and what is not and if their Church is really doing God's work or not.

More importantly with this great gift of being able to read the scriptures, comes greater responsibility. We cannot claim ignorance when the Church goes off the rails and we continue to condone those actions by silence or by continuing membership in a Church that no longer follows the commands of Christ; or is more concerned about its status within the state, than its status with God.

So these days, I don't see many Church leaders as being true representatives of Christ or God, but many rather being state sponsored interlopers who have interjected themselves for the advantage of state or self-centered policy.

So where are the true apostles, the true workmen, those who are truly dedicated, not to their respective nations, racial groups, or social-cultural subsets, but rather are dedicated to God, Christ Jesus and his work? How did Jude put this most important theme? Contending, not for the state, but for the faith.

Beloved, while I was giving
all diligence to write unto you
of our common salvation,
I was constrained to write unto you
exhorting you to contend earnestly
for the faith which was once for
all delivered unto the saints.
(Jude 1:3 - ASV)


These are times when there are various ways some men within the Church are departing from the faith, the basic and fundamental faith delivered to us by the Apostles. Not just on points of doctrine, but I think also in fundamental priorities. Serving God, Christ and spreading the true gospel as delivered by the Apostles, living righteous and humble lives - these things should be priority number one. But since the days of Ancient Rome, those priorities have been slowly eclipsed by the things of this world. In short, I just think too many Churchmen are in love with this world, rather than the Kingdom of Heaven.

Love not the world,
neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world,
the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh
and the lust of the eyes
and the vainglory of life,
is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away,
and the lust thereof:
 but he that doeth the will of God
abideth for ever.
(1 John 2:15-17 - ASV)

So where do I think the real root of many of these schisms come from? Men who have other priorities than Christ. Often, they just want more power for themselves or more of this world's pomp, wealth and glory.

So brothers, I write this piece today so that we are not shocked at many of the schisms that are taking place within the Church. In the end, there will be two groups - those that serve Christ and do his will and commandments and those that do not. The name 'Church' won't mean a thing. There will be Saint's and Ain'ts. Let you and I make sure we are Saint's because only the Saints are going into the Kingdom.

The others, ain't.

Blessed are they that wash their robes,
that they may have the right to come to the tree of life,
and may enter in by the gates into the city.
Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers,
and the fornicators, and the murderers,
and the idolaters, and every one that loveth
and maketh a lie.
(Revelation 22:14-15 - ASV)


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8 Apr


Seal Number Three


And when he opened the third seal,
I heard the third living creature saying,
Come. And I saw, and behold, a black horse;
and he that sat thereon had a balance
in his hand. And I heard as it were
a voice in the midst of the four
living creatures saying,
A measure of wheat for a shilling,
and three measures of barley for a shilling;
and the oil and the wine hurt thou not.
(Revelation 6:5-6 - ASV)

God's grace and peace be upon you all who are reading this and who truly serve the Lord.

I am sure you have all been following the news and consequently. I will not burden you with repeating what you already or should already know. Things have not yet gone, but seem on a very serious trajectory to spinning out of control.

But let us look at the above passage. We see what is in store for the world when the seven seals are opened. What is listed above is the opening of the 3rd seal. Now before I begin I am not at all saying that this seal has been opened. What I am saying is that sky high food prices will be a key factor in the last days.

Let us look at a couple of things here. First the color of the horse is Black. This color is often used to signify calamity (see Lamentations 5:10; Jeremiah 14:2; Ezekiel 32:7, etc). Clearly what is going on is a major famine and it probably is the direct result of the previous seals/horses - conquest and war. Again, it is not my intention to impute this passage to events now transpiring, but I suspect we are close enough to those seals being opened up that we need to take note of what saith the scriptures for the last days.

The prophetic imagery above shows that food is being measured. This may very well indicate some kind of food rationing (a balance). People only get one quart of wheat for a days wage. What about the other necessities of life? Exactly... what about them how can people get by when all they earn just goes for food? This is a time of bare sustenance existence. Something has happened to make this come to pass and the order of the seals indicates (but does not necessarily prove) it is war.

I have been scanning articles on the web and come away with a real concern being echoed in the world's power centers for not just a serious rise in the price of key agricultural commodities (wheat, fertilizer, etc) but also that this kind of price rise could lead to unrest and perhaps even a new spate of turmoil in poorer nations by a genuinely angry populace seeking enough to eat at prices they can reasonably afford.

I have been reading about how some US farmers are scrambling for fertilizer. The fertilizer issue existed before the current crisis and now will only worsen. Do your own news searches on the topic and see what you find.

Things are not good right now on the food front... this before the current crisis. Head on over to the Food Security Cluster and read their reports on Haiti, Yemen, etc. Go over to the Famine Early Warning System and read about the situation in Ethiopia and parts of Nigeria, to name a couple.

This is nothing many of you don't already know. Food prices are going to rise unless some solution is found and I don't see one on the horizon; not even close. This will deeply effect the poorest and most vulnerable. Famine in Afghanistan? Well, perhaps not yet, but there are warnings about it. The UN Secretary General told the world recently that millions are still at risk in Afghanistan, according to news reports. Thanks to donors, a catastrophe was averted, but the deeper problems remain and will surely rear their head once again soon.

Also on the food and famine front is a warning no one should ignore. The chairman of one European chemical company warned the west what could very well happen to the German economy. Already, according to the articles I read, that company has already reduced the production of fertilizer. This is not a good thing. He warned of an economic catastrophe and compared it to the end of WW2.

Brothers and sisters, these are some difficult times and this crisis is going to cause a lot of problems all over the world. Many of those problems may be things that hit people out of the blue. They just won't realize how much their jobs and livelihoods are going to be vulnerable to the economic backlash heading their way. It could get very ugly, particularly in Europe. Think about things like Diesel. Most trucks use it. How does food get from A to B? I will tell you. Trucks. I read a story recently that talks about the possibility of rationing diesel fuel. This could be devastating on jobs, production and yes food distribution.

Well, all I can say is this. We need to keep our eyes open on this whole affair. Things have been bad in some parts of the world, but look to worsen considerably. For we who live in the US, it is not time to hit the 'panic button', but for those who live in places around the world already food insecure... well, let us pray accordingly.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I think God has been most patient over many long years as the western world continued its spiritual and moral descent and mostly for the sake of his many saints who live within those borders. I don't think he will sit still much longer without some kind of real chastisement; Covid-19 being I think a preliminary kind of attention getter for the world. This is why I think we saints who live in these times and within the US and west need to make sure that we are doing what God would have us do, so that our names are written down in that book of remembrance (see Malachi 3:16) I mentioned the other day (for insiders) - so that the Angel of the Lord, who bears the Lord's sword and shield can protect us from those who would do us harm. We do not know what the Lord has planned for the US, Russia, Ukraine; Eastern and Western Europe or the rest of the world. But the 'sin meter' and 'wickedness scales' in many places are reading into the red zone, so let us be wise and take heed.

Brothers, what this nation needs is a spiritual awakening, followed by sincere repentance. But I don't see that happening until the discomfort level rises most significantly in the US. Yes, we as a nation need to repent. I read a little piece over at the Christian Post about John Perkins, the Christian minister and Civil Rights activist - he has a message for America. You may want to check it out.

God bless and keep you all in Christ!

Brother Mark
FYI - We will probably continue our look at the Book of Job, later this month, God willing!.


Note: These are opinions and comments often based on fast moving events. Things change and so can the information as well as the basic narrative. Please make allowances for inadvertent errors, omissions and/or a basic change in the facts as presented in the major and alternative media on which these comments are based.

Additionally, this is not any kind of professional medical, investment, financial or any other kind of advice and should not be construed as or acted upon as such.
 
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4 Mar

Wicked Counsel


Moreover the Spirit lifted me up,
and brought me unto the east gate
of Jehovah's house, which looketh eastward:
and behold, at the door of the gate
five and twenty men; and I saw in the midst
 of them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur,
and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah,
princes of the people.

And he said unto me, Son of man,
these are the men that devise iniquity,
and that give wicked counsel in this city; that say,
The time is not near to build houses: this city is the caldron,
and we are the flesh.
(Ezekiel 11:1-3 - ASV)

The prophets were having a hard time getting the people to believe and prepare for what God had in store for them. Some of the reasons for this were false prophets and evil counselors among the people. The prophets were saying one thing and the evil advisors; those who carried what we will call 'the Devil's narrative', said another. People by and large, when they are in a reprobate spiritual state, listen to the devil. This passage is very interesting as it is part of a larger vision of Ezekiel's vision of the Glory of the Lord and the cherubim (chapter 10).

This word appears to be broadly addressed to the militarists in Israel, the super-patriots - the kind of folks who are always calling for war, if I can use a modern analogy. The idea seems to be that they believed that city was militarily impregnable and that God was with them... he would not let the city fall.

This was the opposite of what God's true prophets were warning the people. The reference to the caldron appears to be an oblique reference to what Jeremiah said in his prophecies (Jeremiah 1:13). The idea was that like food that is boiled in a pot they would not leave the city until they died. These men may have seen themselves as we kind of now look back at the Alamo. But unlike the Alamo, these were people whom God had pronounced a weighty and most unpleasant judgment upon. They were going to build houses and live securely despite what the 'doom and gloom' prophets told them... or so they thought. Only unlike the movies, there would be no calvary charging in that will bring overall victory to the cause. God had other plans and he was going to carry them out.

Therefore prophesy against them,
prophesy, O son of man. And the Spirit
of Jehovah fell upon me,
and he said unto me, Speak,
Thus saith Jehovah: Thus have ye said,
O house of Israel; for I know the things
that come into your mind. Ye have multiplied
your slain in this city, and ye have
filled the streets thereof with the slain.
Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah:
Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it,
they are the flesh, and this city is the caldron;
but ye shall be brought forth out of the midst of it.
Ye have feared the sword;
and I will bring the sword upon you,
saith the Lord Jehovah.
(Ezekiel 11:4-8 - ASV)

God had other plans for this wayward and wicked people. When God has had enough, he has had enough. They had their plans, but God knew them all. God calls them out over all the innocent people they killed; God's prophets they killed... God remembered. He was not going to forget... this was an outstanding 'account' that God was getting ready to collect upon... and as is noted in Chapter 10, this particular action was particularly noteworthy for the glory of the Lord had arrived on the scene. I just don't think the Israelite's knew just how angry God was with them, though he had warned them time and time again.

Have you ever been around someone who never listens and never learns? Who is so contrary they almost seem learning disabled? People whom it seems that the only way they ever seem to learn is when serious misfortune or near unendurable pain hits them? For example - you tell them over and over again to drive more carefully. They don't listen and then one day they are laid up in the hospital all cut up and may not ever walk again after an accident in which they were fully at fault. Ever known anyone like that? I have. Watching their behavior would make a good comedy movie were not the results of their hardheadedness often so tragic. They not only won't learn, they simply and stubbornly refuse to.

This was the state Israel was in. Warning was not going to help. God had sent enough of this prophets to warn them. So, God had a different school to send his people to - we will call it the school of the unholy sepulcher... the place where the spiritually unfit and the morally recalcitrant get taught their final lesson... that does not do them a bit of good after having 'learned' it - their 'diploma' is engraved on their headstone.

Would not listen
would not learn,
so my new instructor
is named the worm
.
___

where their worm dieth not,
and the fire is not quenched.
(Mark 9:48 - ASV)



They were afraid of war. Well, now God has pronounced the judgment of war upon them. Brothers, war can be a horrible judgment. I was listening a bit last night about the last days of the Civil War and General's Sherman's march to the sea. In it the author recalls Sherman's words 'war is hell'. He is right and the longer quotations (easily found on the net) are most worthy of the read.  Wikiquotes has a page that can be found by searching on Letter To the City of Atlanta Sherman 1864 wikiquotes  and find that letter to Atlanta on that page.

Many people don't understand that, except via the images we see on TV, which often are very heavily censored. Solders, particularly those in the Army, Marines and Special Forces - who served in battle - they know what war is. Those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other unnamed places in combat... they know that war is nothing to be played with. They can tell you stories... if you can drag them out of them of friends who were standing next to them one minute cracking jokes and the next minute parts of them were scatted all over the battlefield. They can tell you of rape, people shrieking and groaning in pain with wounds that would make most people's stomach turn just looking at them; of murder, children running screaming for pain and loss... I could go on and on.

Today in the western world... this new generation... I don't think really understand this... not really. Far too many think war is a new show they can watch on cable news or a new video game and often don't factor in the enormous suffering war brings on others. In short, to them war... it is something that happens to other people. But when war comes close to home, it's a different story and this is what was getting ready to happen in Israel. Those who remained there could talk proud, make patriotic noises, beat their chests in defiance and arrogance, but war was coming and their defeat was guaranteed. So to anyone anywhere who is calling for war let me say this.... be careful what you wish for, you just may get it... right on your front doorstep and not live long enough to realize what a horrible mistake you made when calling for war in the first place. War is hell.


And I will bring you forth
out of the midst thereof,
and deliver you into the hands of strangers,
and will execute judgments among you.
(Ezekiel 11:9 - ASV)


They said they were in a 'cauldron'. Well God was going to pluck them right out of it and then execute judgment upon them for their sins. God knew their plans and their thoughts.

Ye shall fall by the sword;
I will judge you in the border of Israel;
and ye shall know that I am Jehovah.
This city shall not be your caldron,
neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof;
I will judge you in the border of Israel;
and ye shall know that I am Jehovah:
for ye have not walked in my statutes,
neither have ye executed mine ordinances,
but have done after the ordinances
of the nations that are round about you.
(Ezekiel 11:10-12 - ASV)

These words are self explanatory. They had their plans, and God had his. They refused to walk in the way God commanded when he gave Israel the land, so now it was time for them to be ejected from it. They refused to listen to God and his prophets and instead followed after the ways of the heathen.

And it came to pass,
when I prophesied, that Pelatiah
the son of Benaiah died. Then fell I down
upon my face, and cried with a loud voice,
and said, Ah Lord Jehovah!
wilt thou make a full end
of the remnant of Israel?
(Ezekiel 11:13 - ASV)

Pelatiah, was mentioned in verse one above. He was one of the ones this was directed at. As his personal name was mentioned, he was probably one of the more prominent leaders. While Ezekiel was prophesying, Pelatiah drops dead. Even Ezekiel is moved by this sudden death. When God want's to drive a message home this is one way he does it (see Acts 5:1ff). We can see that Ezekiel is not one of those people itching for judgment to fall on his people; just the opposite, he seems to be a rather reluctant witness of God's words. We see this in Ezekiel 3:14.


So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away;
and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit;
and the hand of Jehovah
was strong upon me.
(Ezekiel 3:14 - ASV)


Some commentators think that Ezekiel was angry as he shared the Lord's displeasure with Israel. I don't think that is the way this passage is meant to be understood at all. I think Dr. John Gill in his commentary (Dr. John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible) gets it right when he says Ezekiel was angry to have been given this job and have to go and give all of these horrible prophesies to Israel. Ezekiel had to know what often happens to God's prophets. Nevertheless, God was dealing with Ezekiel powerfully and he went... he was hot with anger about having to do this job... but he went.

We will leave this passage off for now.

What is God telling us in this passage? That pride, arrogance, good military defenses and patriotism are no replacement for getting and staying right with God. Israel may have had a good military, good fortifications and high morale, but that wasn't going to help them with the battles that were coming. They were going to be fighting both the enemy and God, who was siding against Israel. Israel was spiritually defenseless and she was going down. She was like a man in the ocean who was encumbered with the weights of wickedness and cement of sin trying to wade ashore. They aren't going anywhere but to the bottom.

Anyone who wants to forget about God should beware, he may one day forget about you. just when you need him most!

You cannot fool or trick God. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Let no nation, church or person think that they can get away with long term recalcitrant sin, particularly after they have been warned and warned again about it. Such an entity is living on borrowed time...

... and those 'interest payments' on sin and evil can indeed add up substantially.

Let we who know our God remember to whom we belong and to mind the business of our God and his Kingdom. Doing this will keep us from becoming entangled with deceptions and troubles that beset the kingdoms of this world. Let us also be careful about who we take advice from be we President or a prisoner; a banker or a truck driver. Let us all be wise in whom we seek advice or counsel.


FYI: This piece was written on January 25th of this year and posted for insiders on that day.



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11 Feb

Hewn Down



And even now the axe also lieth
at the root of the trees: every tree therefore
that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,
 and cast into the fire.
(Luke 3:9 - ASV)


This theme of cutting down those tree's that did not bear good fruit to God is echoed by both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:19).

This is a hard word. It's something that we Christians in our age need to chew on because such words are not the typical 'baby milk' that is fed in many Churches today. God demands fruit from his trees. He cares for them, tends them and makes sure they have what they need to grow.

But he expects something in return. Fruit. This was the theme that Christ made clear in the Gospel of Luke in a parable.

And he said unto the vinedresser,
Behold, these three years I come
seeking fruit on this fig tree,
 and find none: cut it down;
why doth it also cumber the ground?
And he answering saith unto him,
Lord, let it alone this year also,
till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
and if it bear fruit thenceforth,
well; but if not,
thou shalt cut it down.
(Luke 13:7-9 - ASV)


The vinedresser here is acting as a kind of priest or intermediary for this unfruitful tree. He is trying to save it from becoming firewood in the masters hearth. So he asks the owner to wait just a little longer, he is going to try one more thing...

Now brothers, when I look at what is happening in many of the modern Churches in the west and some of the craziness, sinfulness; the divisions, the unscriptural doctrines being taught, the controversies and the worldliness, I cannot help but wonder how much longer God is going to put up with a tree that is not bearing much or any godly fruit. Something must be done. I read recently where a poll was taken and that said many Christians did not believe in the Holy Spirit. Now how can you be saved and not know who the Holy Spirit is? It's work is essential in the act and process of Salvation. Yet we have large numbers of Christians who are clueless about it at best or don't believe in it at worst! These people really think they are saved. Well, that is like saying one can drive a car and not know what a steering wheel is! Today, there is less and less sound, Biblically based doctrines in our Churches... and these views on the Holy Spirit are very dangerous. Why? To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is the one unpardonable sin (Mark 3:29). You cannot blaspheme against anyone but God. These so-called Christians really need to understand some of the very basics of Christianity and clearly, many simply don't.

Many of you are not going to like what I say here, but I think one of the greatest obstacles to getting people saved, truly saved is many of the Churches - or rather much of the corporate (administrative and legal structures of the) Church. I say that because so many of them say the right words (though today that is not so true), when it comes to salvation, but they just don't live it. One of the things that kind of sent me off the rails of my walk with Christ when I was younger was the way Christians acted and behaved and the consistent mistreatment I got from other so-called Christians. I was really on fire for God and when I pulled back the 'curtain' and saw what was really going on, I became very disillusioned and were it not for God recalling me many years later, I would have certainly lost my soul.

My point is that one can be wayward for only so long and then comes the time of decision - repent or the ax will fall - individually and collectively (the Church).

I think this is a major spiritual issue right now - the state of the Church and I would not be surprised if God and his holy angels and counselors have not been discussing this issue with increasing regularity and concern. I suspect he has as it regards western Christendom.

I am reminded of an exchange the Lord had with the religious leaders of his day, the Pharisees and scribes. They had become a hindrance to people getting saved. They were in the way.

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! because ye shut
the kingdom of heaven against men:
for ye enter not in yourselves,
neither suffer ye them
that are entering in to enter.
(Matthew 23:13 - ASV)

These were the religious leaders of Christ's time. They claimed to be speaking for God. But they weren't. Christ had a long list of sins, crimes and spiritual omissions for these religious hypocrites and told them in plain simple language, that they were children of hell (Matthew 23:15). Christ was not talking to the pagans of ancient Rome or the worshipers of Baal, but to the religious leaders of his own time and nation. They were a big, big problem; thinking they had a map to heaven when in actuality, had a chart to hell. They were on that road and took those who listened to them there as well.

My deep concern is that this is pretty much where much (though certainly not all) of American, yes even western Christendom is at right now. That God is not pleased with the trends in the churches, not pleased with the lack of fruit that is coming off the tree.

My point in writing this brief piece today is to say this. I think the time of separation in the Church is already underway. Those who hold to solid biblical teachings I think are or are in the process of moving out of Churches that refuse to teach sound doctrine and continue to walk stubbornly into great spiritual error. The problem is so many of the newer believers, the ones who have no real grounding in the word of God, these are like young saplings who could be in the gravest of danger from this phenomenon.

But God is most gracious. He is not wanting to destroy the Church. But that may mean that while he won't destroy it, he may very well chastise it and such chastisement may turn out to be quite severe, depending on where the Church is at, spiritually speaking. How God deals with different Churches is laid out for us in the book of Revelation, chapters two and three. Here is how those seven letters were prefaced.


I John, your brother
and partaker with you in the tribulation
and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus,
was in the isle that is called Patmos,
for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day,
and I heard behind me a great voice,
as of a trumpet saying, What thou seest,
write in a book and send it to the seven churches:
unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna,
and unto Pergamum, and unto Thyatira,
and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia,
and unto Laodicea.
(Revelation 1:9-11 - ASV)

Each Church had its issues, some good and some not good. The Lord lays out what they are to do and what is ahead for them. So it is not wise for us to think that God is going to deal with all Churches, denominations and congregations in the same way. He won't. Each will have to deal with their own challenges, the consequences for their own sins and the reward for their own abundance of good fruit. God see's all, no one is going to pull the wool over the Lord's eyes.

But the real questions is at what point does a person, church, or denomination get itself hewn down? When does God cut down the unfruitful tree and pluck it up by the roots? That tree that did nothing but take up precious resources?

This is what he did with Israel. He got tired of their sins and of warning them about them. Finally he had had enough.

At what instant I shall speak
concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom,
to pluck up and to break down and to destroy it;
 if that nation, concerning which I have spoken,
turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil
that I thought to do unto them.
And at what instant I shall speak
concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom,
to build and to plant it; if they do that
which is evil in my sight, that they obey not my voice,
then I will repent of the good, wherewith
I said I would benefit them. Now therefore,
 speak to the men of Judah,
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
saying, Thus saith Jehovah: Behold,
I frame evil against you, and devise
a device against you: return ye now
every one from his evil way,
and amend your ways and your doings.
(Jeremiah 18:7-11 - ASV)



God showed great patience with ancient Israel. As we also see, he showed the same kind of patience with the Church. Six times in the letters to the seven Churches Christ used the word repent to get them to change course (Revelation 2:5; 2:16; 2:21; 2:22; 3:3; and 3:19). I cannot help but wonder what the Lord would have an apostle write to the Churches of the west today - to the Lutheran, the Baptist, the Catholic, the Presbyterian, the Methodist, the Adventists and the Orthodox. What kinds of words of praise and rebuke would he have for them today?

I do not know, but I cannot help but wonder - have God's holy angels begun getting in line to get their tree axes sharpened?

Let us pray that if they are, we are not part of the field that that is targeted and that those who are targeted, fully understand the danger they are in so that they may repent before the ax hews down the tree. 

Let us also pray for the pastors across the western world that are doing right and have kept faith with God in spite of all the evil pressures from inside and outside of the Church that would lead them off course. That they may continue on preaching and teaching the word in ways that please our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That the sheep learn to turn their backs on false teachers and preachers and turn their faces towards God and sound doctrine as found in the scriptures.

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13 Jan

In Praise of Humility

The reward of humility
and the fear of Jehovah
Is riches, and honor, and life.
(Proverbs 22:4 - ASV)

Today, let's talk very briefly about being humble.

Let us always be humble. Mankind? Brothers and sisters, not one of us has any right to be proud and lifted up about who we are or what we do. Not the rich and famous, not the powerful, not the beautiful and not the mighty. Humility, true humility comes from knowing who we are in the overall scheme of things - in God's eyes, but also in light of the great expanse of the universe and eternity. When one looks at the sons of men from this perspective, we are little more than a puff of smoke, which exists for a very short time and then disappears.

As Christians, humility - true humility must always be a key part of our walk. When we come to God in prayer, we have to do it humbly, not with any kind of pride and certainly not spiritual pride. We must come to God even as King Josiah did, when he inquired of the Lord. God had determined to bring evil upon his people for forsaking him. But the king found favor in God's eyes. Why?

But unto the king of Judah,
who sent you to inquire of Jehovah,
thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith Jehovah,
the God of Israel: As touching the words
which thou hast heard, because thy heart
was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God,
when thou heardest his words against this place,
and against the inhabitants thereof,
and hast humbled thyself before me,
 and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me;
I also have heard thee, saith Jehovah.
Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers,
and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace,
neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that
I will bring upon this place, and upon the
 inhabitants thereof. And they brought
back word to the king.
(2 Chronicles 34:26-28 - ASV)


The King pleased God and this is how we have to behave when we come to the Lord. We have to be humble and totally honest with God, knowing that we are made from the very dirt that our feet walk upon.

I tend to think that some of the greatest obstacles to personal happiness and contentment are pride, arrogance and worldly ambition. It's also a key obstacle to any kind of relationship with God. Humility - deep and sincere humility on our part is a key part of that relationship.

But he giveth more grace.
Wherefore the scripture saith,
God resisteth the proud,
but giveth grace to the humble.
(James 4:6 - ASV)

And whosoever shall exalt himself
shall be humbled;

and whosoever shall humble himself
shall be exalted.

(Matthew 23:12 - ASV)

We have all heard these versus before, but let us always keep them in our minds as we walk our daily walks with Christ. To be humble, kind, unassuming and helpful when appropriate. We should spend less time trying to be attention getters to a lost world and rather becoming an attention getter in God's eyes.

The way to get God's attention is 180 degree's different than the world's way. With the world you have to have money, fame, good looks, be 'popular' with the 'in crowd', say and do popular and trendy things. People do it to be acceptable to onlookers. But with God, he is looking for that quiet, faithful soul who is noted for his humility towards God and his righteous life. The person who has a quiet, holy and humble life in faithful service to God... this is the person that gets God's attention. God will set his hand over that person and watch over him and guide him in the paths that lead to life.

But we must be humble enough to receive the Lord's instruction and learn from him. God will set those whom he loves often on a very different life path than that of others. Often this is a quieter and humbler path, the one that does not have so many people on it. It may be a path that leads one from the Corporate Board room to a quiet place in the country and drives that person into the prayer closet instead of a steady stream of corporate merger negotiations. Or perhaps to the mission field, instead of performing in front of the theatrical footlights.

Too many men and women expect that God is going to put them on some pedestal and make them some new Christian celebrity or some 'great man of God' in the eyes of the the world or Christendom. Somehow deep down inside, I suspect many think that God should be honored to have them serving him and expect to be rewarded appropriately with importance, fame and fortune.

Before God can use, really use such a person such thinking has to be done away with and they must learn to take the back seat and an unrecognized part in things. This humbler mindset must become second nature to them. In short, they have to be broken of that kind of me first or I'm important kind of thinking.

In our times particularly, we should not be seeking great things for ourselves. I think of Jeremiah's faithful scribe and how the Lord set him straight about seeking great things for himself.

And seekest thou great things for thyself?
seek them not; for, behold,
I will bring evil upon all flesh,
saith Jehovah; but thy life will I give unto thee
for a prey in all places whither thou goest.
(Jeremiah 45:5 - ASV)

Now Baruch had connections to the Royal Court as his brother was the King's chamberlain. So he may have had some secret aspirations. What they were we are not privy to, but clearly God saw something in them and wanted to gently correct Jeremiah's faithful scribe. If he was looking for a place at court, God here dismisses that clearly in Jeremiah 45:4 where he tells him he was going to break down and pluck up his people. Getting a high position in a court that was going to go into exile wasn't a very practical aspiration, considering the plans God had in store.

This is why we should always find out what God wants us to do and be where he wants us to be. It's better to live a humble life in a quiet cottage with God's love and protection than in a million dollar penthouse suite in a huge metropolis that God has marked down for destruction.

So it should be with us. In a world heading for God's holy judgment, how valuable do you really think being 'important' is in this increasingly wicked world? Who wants to fight and claw their way to the top of a dung heap that is about to be cast into the fires? That is how I view those people who are ambitious in the things of this world. The real issue I think is that deep down inside, they are still very much in love with this world and the pomp, glory and wealth that the system has to offer. More in love with those things, than with God.

Brothers, it behooves us to always be humble in all we say and do. God really does not like pride; but rather a humble, thankful and obedient heart.

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty;
And before honor goeth humility.
(Proverbs 18:12 - ASV)


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9 Dec

A Matter of Trust


This brothers and sisters is going to be one of the most important things for each of us in the last days - who do you trust? In these days of false prophets, controversial pastors and questionable politicians, it is often going to be a serious choice for many of us. This matter of trust may be one that causes us to leave our jobs, move, change churches or even the country we live in. Who do you trust? Officials in government? Bureaucrats with long titles? Pastors with many university degree's? Public Health officials? Hollywood Stars? Who should you trust? In times of crisis who should you believe?

You see when one gets to belief systems, you are hitting at the root and target of any propaganda campaign because almost all propaganda is targeting those core belief systems. The MSM wants you to believe and trust them, alternative media wants you to believe and trust them, the government wants you to believe and trust them, etc. They are all trying to gain your trust when many of them simply don't deserve that trust. How many times have officials lied to us?

Liars are real. Hitler lied his way to power and then used his lies to kill millions. But many Germans trusted him. They really believed him and in his party. I think the real problem is not so much that people believed him, but that it was convenient to believe him, or at least pretend you did - and with others, they wanted to believe him even though deep down inside, they had their doubts. But with many in both groups, I think fear and cowardice were at the root of their 'belief'.

In these days of massive propaganda, fake news, lying narratives put forward by corrupted governments, we just have to be careful about whom we believe. A government with a long and often negative track record... I think it wise to be most reticent before we put much faith in such a system. Why not? Simple. Believing a lie, any lie, no matter how small is the first step on a long road to the city of deception. It may be paved with the most beautiful lies, layered in gold and platinum, with beautiful people smiling at you giving you gifts as you head down that road, but in the end you will only find you have been fooled, surrounded by people who took the same wrong turn you did when they listened to the lie and continued down the path of deception.

I can remember one time I had a conversation with someone who was struggling with their faith. They asked me why did God demand faith. I suspect they seemed to think it was a 'cop out' for God not coming down and performing some magic tricks to get people to believe in him. I said, you have to go back to the Garden of Eden.

They looked at me kind of funny and with a high degree of incredulity, but I just said, Yes, because that is where it all began. They wanted me to continue, so I did.

I told them, that when God put man and his woman in the garden, he gave them a specific commandment.

And Jehovah God commanded
the man, saying, Of every tree
of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day
that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
(Genesis 2:16-17 - ASV)


This is basic Christianity 101, but I think it key. God gave Adam a commandment and the man (and later his woman) had to obey the commandment, but at the root of that obedience is the idea of belief. They had to believe God was sincere in what he said would happen. It is the same today, if God gives us a commandment we have to believe God about that commandment and the consequences for disobedience. It comes down to a matter of faith... do you believe God, will you trust him or will you disobey and show unbelief in what he just told you to do? This was a test for Adam that God was giving him - Do you believe and will you obey the Lord, your God?

This I think is a key aspect of a rather enigmatic statement Christ made in the Gospel of John about spiritual blindness to the Pharisee's. One has to know what God commands and once one does, there comes spiritual responsibility.

Jesus said unto them,
If ye were blind, ye would have no sin:
but now ye say, We see:
your sin remaineth.
(John 9:41 - ASV)


One has to hear what God has to say, believe in what he says, and then do as he commanded. This is the essence of that key ingredient in the Gospel, faith.

Faith was broken in the Garden as you all know. How? By the devil planting the seeds of both doubt and deception in what God had commanded.

Now the serpent was more subtle
than any beast of the field
which Jehovah God had made.
And he said unto the woman,
Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat
of any tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent,
Of the fruit of the trees of the garden
we may eat: but of the fruit of the tree
which is in the midst of the garden,
God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it,
neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman,
Ye shall not surely die: for God doth
know that in the day ye eat thereof,
then your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that
the tree was good for food,
and that it was a delight to the eyes,
and that the tree was to be desired
to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof,
and did eat; and she gave also
unto her husband with her, and he did eat.
(Genesis 3:1-6 - ASV)

The devil had a plan and he executed it with his usual demonic skill. He found the weak point, exploited it, caused doubt to arise, and then sprung his trap with the lie - Ye shall not surely die.

The key? The woman ceased to believe God and chose instead to listen to and believe the devil. Again it was a question of whom to believe. Eve and later Adam made the wrong choice and ceased to believe God. But God was indeed true to his word and every human who lives has died since then. God does not forget his word and always carries it out.

I really wanted to get to belief systems today and the whole idea of faith because of the vicious and pervasive information war that is being waged all over the planet on a whole range of key issues today. Who and what we believe will invariably dictate how we behave and the choices we make. If you believe you can cross a bridge without incident and need to, chances are you are going to go across, but if you believe that if you cross it, it's not going to hold up, you probably won't. This is a basic and yes, an oversimplification of a most important aspect of human behavior - belief.

Taking hold of Christ and his work on the cross requires faith. We have to hear the word of God, believe it and then obey it. Christ's work restores the faith-trust relationship with God that was destroyed in the garden and why God demands it from all of us.

This is how I explained the need for faith to this person some 25 years ago. In our times, we must always examine and reexamine our belief systems and make sure they are on and remain on the firm foundation of God's word and keep faith with God. I can tell you this brothers and sisters from my personal experience - God honors faith. Put your trust, your whole being in God's hands - and this can often entails some degree of risk or even danger - and God will honor it. That has been my experience.

So in our times, let us always be skeptical of anything and anyone before we believe what they tell us. Trust is a good thing, but it can be a most dangerous one, even suicidal if it is placed in the wrong person, group or system. To me, trust is one of the most precious gifts one can give to another and it should not be given away to just anyone... not if you want to live a long and happy life (!).

God bless and keep you all in Christ!


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16 Nov

Malak Elohim (Angel Of The Lord)

These words in Hebrew mean Angel or Messenger (H4397 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary) of the Lord. Other times in scripture the phrase Angel of Jehovah is used. These are beings created by God who serve him in the spiritual and temporal realm. Their job for the most part is to execute the will of God. They are 'deputized' by the Lord to carry out specific tasks for which they are both commanded and empowered.

These beings can bring comfort to the despised (as Hagar was when Sarai pushed her out of the house), they can bring in powerful messages to God's servants (as with Joseph in the NT - Matthew 1:20) or they can bring interpretive messages to prophecies as with Daniel, Zechariah and John the Revelator. They can also prepare a lowly person to become a great warrior or servant of the Lord, as with Gideon. If there is an important task for one of God's people to do, you can be pretty sure there is an angel around to help that person carry out that task.

Brothers, I honestly don't think I would be alive today were it not for the angel's that God sent to protect me. If we serve the Lord and fear him, he will indeed send his angels to look out for us.

The angel of Jehovah encampeth
round about them that fear him,

And delivereth them.
(Psalms 34:7 - ASV)

If you serve God, you have powerful protection. Protection that has probably protected you many times in the past in ways you were never aware of. These angels can be powerful spirits. God has in the past shown me (in the spirit) both the demons that were arrayed against me and the angel that was sent to protect me.

God I think wanted me to understand what was happening from another perspective; the real battle lines that were not seen by the naked eye or natural mind. Sometimes we have to see things in this other way in order to get a resolution to our own particular woes and know how to pray and approach a problem.

These angels can warn us of impending danger. (Matthew 2:13) They can also bring words of encouragement (Zechariah 1:13).

These angels that protect us and those who obey the commandments of the Lord, some of them are very, very powerful. Remember when Hezekiah was afraid when he heard the King of Assyria was coming against him? The Lord had other plans.

For I will defend this city to save it,
for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
And the angel of Jehovah went forth, and smote
in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred
and fourscore and five thousand; and when men
arose early in the morning, behold,
these were all dead bodies.
So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed,
and went and returned,
and dwelt at Nineveh.
(Isaiah 37:35-37 - ASV)

While Hezekiah may have been afraid, in reality there was nothing to worry about. God had his angel at the ready to deal with Sennacherib, whose army was no match for one single, solitary angel of the Lord.

I write this brief piece for each of you today so that no matter what you are facing, God knows about it. If you belong to him, God can set his angel about you and if it is necessary, God can send that angel reinforcements.

Brothers, I know many of you are worried about what is happening in our world. Some of you are worried about your jobs, your livelihoods, your kids, the price of necessities and your future.

Just know that what you are facing is something that God knew about long ago. Do you serve the Lord? Chances are excellent that your angel knows of your situation and is either busy at work on your behalf or standing by awaiting orders from the Most High God.

You are not alone.

And when the servant of the man of God
was risen early, and gone forth, behold,
a host with horses and chariots was
round about the city. And his servant said unto him,
Alas, my master! how shall we do?
 And he answered, Fear not; for they that are
with us are more than they that are with them.
And Elisha prayed, and said, Jehovah,
I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.
And Jehovah opened the eyes of the young man;
and he saw: and, behold, the mountain
was full of horses and chariots of fire
round about Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:15-17 - ASV)

Whatever your situation, I just wanted to remind each of you the powerful angelic protection that you have as a 'fringe benefit' of serving God and placing your faith in his Messiah, Jesus Christ.

You are not alone in what you are facing, today or in the future.

Keep faith with God. I have found that he can always be depended on, not necessarily to do what we want, but to bring a situation to a resolution that is best. We may think we know what is best, but in reality it is God that knows what is best for us, those around us and his Church.

So if it seems as though God is about to throw you into the fiery furnace like the three young men in the book of Daniel, just remember there was another person in that flame that protected them who had the appearance of one of the son of the gods (Daniel 3:25). Despite any fears those three had, there was never any real reason to be afraid. God had their backs!

...for he that toucheth you
toucheth the apple of his eye.
Zechariah 2:8b - ASV)


In closing know this - God has not gone to sleep. He knows about you and your situations. I believe it best to fret not yourself, but trust in God in all things, obey his voice, even when it sometimes does not seem to make sense to your natural mind. What? Do you think it made sense for Naaman to go and wash in Jordan to be cured (see 2Kings 5:10ff)? It didn't. He could have missed his blessing if he had chosen to listen to his natural reasoning rather than the words of the Lord and his prophet.

So brothers, be encouraged, have faith and stand strong!!


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12 July

Fearlessness of Faith

Grace and peace to each of you and may God bless and keep you all in these troubling, confusing and disconcerting ties.

Today's update is not about current events. Its about how we all must deal with the troubles that come our way and the strangeness of our times.

As you all know, I read a lot of things from a wide variety of sources. Left, Right, Christian, secular, US and foreign. I often get information overload reading so much. But one thing I have noted in the past year and a half since the 2020 election and Covid's spread across the globe. It is the incredible amount of fear-mongering and half-truths being spread not just by the 'unofficial', the dissenters and others, but by officialdom and semi-officialdom as well. The fear, misdirections, half-truths and disinformation are real. They are not a figment of yours or my imagination. A lot of money is being spent to influence opinion and the government has hardly been innocent in this battleground, duly spreading fear and contributing significantly to the deep and troubling divisions in the country.

Fear is a powerful emotion. Fear and hate are two powerful tools an adept propagandist and liar uses when he wants to spread his poison into your mind. The tentacles of this kind of propaganda, when it is run by governments and their secretive agencies can be very significant. These forces have 'influence' in many of top line establishment news and even in many alternative news sites. With some of these sites and sources, I see them as kind of a 'fake opposition', designed specifically to control forces; racial, social or political groups who they know will have problems with some policies at some time in the future. These state run or state connected forces operate on all sides of the political spectrum. They deal in social, racial and gender based news sources and blogs. In the US they use these tools often ostensibly to counter foreign propaganda. I want to stress the word ostensibly because today, it appears that there is little real control over these forces and their efforts to ride roughshod over the basic rights of ordinary, hard working, law abiding Americans who have more than a few inconvenient questions about some of the things going down in the country today. 

My point here today is to school you in the university of faith. When the demons of fear and hate start to preach their horror and brimstone driven sermons, we must not take the bait. Many Christians and their sites are just dripping with fear based stories. Horror, dread and scary stuff just oozes from the computer screen once the proper URL is entered in. Let us be careful of such sites, forces and people. They may or may not be operating from the best of intentions but the key to remember is that fear is not faith. We must not allow ourselves to be inundated with all of the stuff on the net, the scary, the wacky, the hateful or the deceitful.

Some of you are worried about Covid. Some of you were worried about Biden becoming President, the left is worried that Trump might return to the White House. My question is - where is the faith of God's people and of those who constantly spread fear and dread into cyberspace?

You see, I think many of these so called Christians have lost sight of some important truths. That the devil is running this planet for he is the prince of this world. Why should we be shocked when he shows his true colors? Authoritarianism? Yes, this is what the devil is working towards and his servants in this world are helping - some knowingly, most not. One of the first things the devil wants to do is to destroy truth tellers so that the big lie can be told unchallenged. This is why we have seen so much censorship in this world. The official lie must never be challenged. This is the first rule in any authoritarian, non-free, political system. I think we can all smell the stench of such a system in the west, however faintly.

This is why we must always be on our guard for the devil will certainly throw his darts at us in the form of various falsehoods and in these times, we can all see just how dangerous such lies can be. Ask the Jews of Nazi Germany how the lies spread about them by the party about their very membership in the human race put millions in the gas chambers. The devil knows how to lie and he knows how to get people to believe them. If you don't think you can be fooled, you have been already.

But we who know the truth need not fear such lies. We must remember our place. Then we must remember the place of those who have rejected God's truth. Brothers, this is just going to be hard for a lot of you. You are just going to have to toughen up and realize that many of them are just going to go walking blithely into a multitude of traps that you and I can see, but they cannot and in most cases, simply refuse to.

We cannot save the world. We must not try. We can only preach the gospel, live our lives in love and hope and let the world do what the world does best - rebel against God; sometimes in lesser ways, other times in greater. When God wants to warn the world of what it is doing, he will raise up a or many prophets.

With many Christians particularly a lot of blogs and news sites, I think they get frustrated because they are trying to do the impossible. They are trying to 'teach the dead to sing'. No matter how hard you try, with the best of intentions you will only get silence out of a corpse. So it is with the world. This world is lost. It will always be lost. Those who are part of this world are and will be lost. You cannot teach it to be a Christian because it knows not Christ. The corpse must cease to be a one if it is ever to learn to sing. When we are born again, we come out of this world and are alive to Christ, we have the potential to 'sing', though with many this never develops into anything but a failed potentiality. We are no longer of this world, but have been given the power to become sons of God.

I realize that many are deeply concerned about the trends in the nation and world. Don't be. These things must needs be. Cease to do the 'freak out' thing and worrying yourself and others half to death. We as Christians must walk in this world; we must traverse the land of Sodom, the valley of Gomorrah, the high places of idolatry and false religion and the minefields of lies. We cannot get distracted by the sins of others nor be enticed by the temptations the devil will put in our path to divert us from our steady course. Nor can we live in fear and dread for what may or may not happen. If you serve God, I mean truly serve him, you are in his hands. If not, you are going to be cannon fodder for the devil, who hates mankind only a little less than he hates God.

Are you walking with God? Is your pathway directed by him? Have you dedicated the rest of your life here on this earth to his service? Then these words should encourage you.

After these things
the word of Jehovah came unto Abram in a vision,
saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield,
and thy exceeding great reward.
(Genesis 15:1 - ASV)


What were the first two words the Lord spoke to Abram here? Fear not! This vision took place right after a major battle where the King of Sodom was involved and Abram would not take so much as a shoe lace from him. He did not want it said that the King of Sodom made him rich. Abram knew that some gifts have too high a price. There are some things that are better not taken. In today's world there are some jobs we just should not do. They may be perfectly legal and even somewhat respected by the world, but that does not mean we should take them.

For Christians - ever thought about taking a job as a check out clerk at the local grocery store at $20k a year rather than a job at some big corporation that censors Christians, finds ways to harass believers, pushes things on society that they know God hates for a salary of $100k a year? It is not an easy decision, but one that may in the long run, spiritually speaking, turn out to be by far the best. All that glitters isn't gold and even if it is, what lies underneath all that flash may be dangerous or even lethal, spiritually speaking. This is one of those things you must truly seek the Lord about in prayer before making such decisions.

Remember Lot? When there was strife between Lot's herdsmen and Abram's the two separated. Lot chose what looked good on the surface (Gen 13:10) to move to. But this was where Sodom was before it was destroyed. While it may have looked good on the surface, let us never forget that Lot only eventually escaped that place with his life, and even then only after Abraham interceded for him. His wife didn't make it. Lot saw something that glittered but later, it turned into brimstone when the Lord got finished with it.

Then God tells Abram that he is his shield, that being his protection. God will protect you if you are his and serve him honestly and honorably. God had a mission for Abraham. In order for him to get that protection, he like we do, have to stay the course on what God wanted him to do. He was on his way to the promised land - a land that God would show him. We too are on our way to the promised land. If we stay the course, God will help keep us on course and protect us. God protected Abraham and he will protect you and me as well.

So to those of you who serve God, I write this brief piece today so that you cease to worry and wonder about the lost world. There are some things you can fix and there are things you cannot. A wise man knows the difference and concentrates on what he can change rather than getting worry lines in his forehead about things he cannot.

Our jobs are simple - to live the gospel. Most people are not going to believe or accept it and in time, we will be badly persecuted here in the west for our faith. But some will come to the cross, but only some of those will do what the scriptures command - endure to the end.

Brothers hear me out on this - most souls will not make it. They are just going to be lost. Many of your families, friends and loved ones... they are going to be lost. They chose it and remember this - no one deserves heaven. God has granted us this great salvation by his grace and love. As a race, mankind is lost, reprobate and vile. We don't see ourselves that way... while we commit unspeakable crimes one upon another. We wallow in our moral filth and claim to be righteous; our hands stained with the blood of our brother, lips dripping hate and lies and pockets holding dishonest gain.

No brothers, every soul that is lost will be lost because of his own choosing. Every soul that is saved is there because of God's grace.

I have always looked at this salvation thing like this. There is the divine harvester. He is looking only for the choicest parts of the harvest. Only the very best gets into his barn. He gets rid of the rest. It simply is not good enough to meet his standards. He sells off the refuse and the devil is more than willing to take it.

So it is with salvation. We are special to God, very special and he has taken a lot of time and effort to build us up into what he wants us to be.

Let us remember that and that we have no part in this world, its ways or its fate. He who remembers this on a daily basis will find he is less likely to make key mistakes in these troubling times.

and I will bless them that bless thee,
and him that curseth thee will I curse:
and in thee shall all the families
of the earth be blessed.
(Genesis 12:3 - ASV)

May the blessing of Abram (Abraham) be upon each of you who truly and faithfully serve the Lord and have kept the faith in good times and in bad and not denied the name of the Lord Jesus Christ nor are ashamed of the Gospel.

Amen.

Note: This piece is not any kind of professional financial or career advice and should not be construed as or acted upon as such. This is merely personal commentary and a 'food for thought' piece for Christians as we navigate these troubling and difficult times. This site's full disclaimer policy can be found at the bottom of this page.

2 June

Lawfare And Spiritual Warfare


Navigating the future in the west I don't think is going to be easy. When Churches are not allowed by law to congregate while others are is a problem. One that needs to be explored.

During this pandemic, Churches have done right I think so far by obeying authorities during the pandemic but also by using the courts to deal with authorities edicts restricting worship. But what about when perhaps some future edict goes directly against our great commission or the commands of scripture? What then? This is no little matter, because such days may not be so very far away, given the political landscape and some of the other things being slowly moved legally and administratively against Christians in the west. 

Are there any examples in scripture about this? Are there examples of 'lawfare' in our Bibles? Men who used the law subtly to entrap God's servants? Yes. I will just use one today, because I think it most apt.

Daniel was a man greatly beloved of God and who served the Emperor Darius. He was very good at his job and no one could find any occasion against him. He was wise, most efficient and the emperor had a lot of respect for him. So much so that he was to be the number two man in the Kingdom, above all the other administrators.

Then this Daniel was distinguished
above the presidents and the satraps,
because an excellent spirit was in him;
and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
Then the presidents and the satraps
sought to find occasion against Daniel
as touching the kingdom;
but they could find no occasion nor fault,
forasmuch as he was faithful,
neither was there any
 error or fault found in him.
(Daniel 6:3-4 - ASV)



Daniels' enemies were looking for something... anything they could use against him. But could not find anything. Man, do I personally know what that is like! Well, if they can't find anything - create something against them. Here is what went down with God's servant, Daniel

Then said these men,
We shall not find any
occasion against this Daniel,

except we find it against him
concerning the law of his God.
(Daniel 6:5 - ASV)


This is lawfare in the age of the Medes and the Persians. Lawfare based on religion. And not unlike today, the deeper ramifications are spiritual in nature. Perhaps it would help to look at this like the spiritual stronghold of Babylon was coming against a man of God. What was the 'hook' this stronghold used to entice these men to come against God's man? Jealousy. In order for the devil to get people to act he has to have some kind of 'hook' to pull them in the direction he wants them to go. So these princes of Babylon were hatching a plot against Daniel. They realized it had to be against his religion and his God after having looked everywhere else.

Then these presidents and satraps
assembled together to the king,
and said thus unto him, King Darius,
live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom,
the deputies and the satraps,
the counsellors and the governors,
have consulted together to establish
a royal statute, and to make a strong interdict,
that whosoever shall ask a petition
of any god or man for thirty days, save of thee,
O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
Now, O king, establish the interdict,
and sign the writing, that it be not changed,
according to the law of the Medes and Persians,
which altereth not.
(Daniel 6:6-8 - ASV)

Like most good administrators, they were clever. They created this law, which only had temporary effect (30 days) and during this time, no one could could come to any God and pray... except of course to the emperor himself. Here they show that they understood a few things. First that such a law if for an extended period could cause social unrest; second, it was OK to come to the King. Here they appealed to the Kings vanity, who now would be the exclusive 'god' to whom the people could come to in order to make any petition. This was a firm law and one that could not be revoked. The penalty for breaking it was death by lions den.

Now this is one crazy law, but one cannot think for a second that men in power in any age are not capable of putting such laws into action. Here the motive was for one reason alone, to kill Daniel. They shifted the whole religious and legal landscape of the empire to kill one godly man. Make no mistake, a truly Godly man who yields himself to God is someone that the devil will take the greatest pains to try and destroy.

Wherefore king Darius
signed the writing and the interdict.
(Daniel 6:9 - ASV)

This is rather sad. Why in the world did Darius sign this?  He had to realize this would effect Daniel, his most trusted servant? We don't know. But it is not impossible that Daniel was 'out of the office' that day, perhaps out tallying the grain supply or inspecting the royal armory. These administrators probably waited until an ideal time to spring this on the king. Perhaps after the emperor had a few glasses of the special Persian vintage of wine and some Persian dancing beauty did her little performance for the court (this is not unheard of in scripture - see Mark 6:22ff). However they did it, they were able to get the king to sign this stupid law.

And when Daniel knew
that the writing was signed,
he went into his house (now his windows
were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem);
and he kneeled upon his knees
three times a day, and prayed,
and gave thanks before his God,
as he did aforetime.
(Daniel 6:10 - ASV)

Here is the thing, once he knew it was signed Daniel did not change a thing. Knowing the danger and certainly knowing his enemies had arranged this trap, he continued to serve the Lord and prayed like he did before - even though it had become a crime, punishable by death.

Daniel had to navigate this legal and administrative jungle with all of these administrative and legal snakes, crocodiles and piranha out to devour him. How did he do it? In this instance, it was a head-on approach. he was not going to be frightened out of serving God. He was not going to be scared out of praying to the Lord. He went in his room turned towards Jerusalem, got on his knee's and prayed. In short, Daniel, with his actions was saying 'pass all the laws you want, I am going to serve the Lord'. This was faith for Daniel knew that he moment he got on his knees he was according to the law, a dead man.

These days, many Christians are relying on political parties, non-profit legal organizations and others to protect their rights from bad laws that attack Christians. Certainly these organization are for the most part, doing excellent work and have done much to protect us. But we must never forget that this is ultimately, not a political or legal battle, but a spiritual one. This was the secret that Daniel knew and his enemies did not.

Then these men assembled
together unto the king,
and said unto the king, Know, O king,
that it is a law of the Medes and Persians,
that no interdict nor statute
which the king establisheth
may be changed.
(Daniel 6:15 - ASV)



On the surface, it looked like Daniel's enemies had won a major victory. They run to the king like a group of tattle-tale school children, probably unable to contain their joy in their news that Daniel was now committing a capital offense.

But the king realized that he made a major error in signing that decree and did what he could to fix things. But his administrators were adamant, they wanted Daniel, or what was left of him after the lions were finished, under six feet of dirt... no if's, no and's and no but's. They had the King as well as Daniel in a trap.

The King did not appreciate this as we see and administrators and lawyers often do make big mistakes. This was a major political mistake they made - tricking and entrapping the king. They probably thought they were indispensable.

We know the rest of the story. God sent an angel to protect Daniel from this unwise and unrighteous edict and the wicked men behind it. Daniel came out of the den unharmed.

This is not what happened to Daniel's enemies.

And the king commanded,
a
nd they brought those men that
had accused Daniel, and they cast them
into the den of lions, them, their children,
and their wives; and the lions had
the mastery of them, and brake
all their bones in pieces,
before they came to the
bottom of the den.
(Daniel 6:24 - ASV)


Despite all that his enemies had planned against God's man, Daniel prospered (Dan 6:28).

I have gone over this passage for a reason. As we watch the generational shift in the country as well as attacks on religious liberty, we must understand that we are indeed in a kind of jungle. We have enemies who are lying in wait for us as we traverse the dangerous landscape. They want to do us harm, even kill us. But we who know our God can depend on him to look out for us. To protect us from the wickedness of those who would do us harm. Sometimes God has to let our enemies get so far, so he can beat them back. Let them do their wickedness so they have no excuse when they are thrown into the lions den, as they would do to God's people.

This is the boomerang effect and at times, I have seen it at work. What people try and throw at God's people can sometimes comes right back around at them. The key is to never take vengeance yourself, keep faith with God and keep your eyes and ears open to what is going on and more importantly to what God wants you to do.

Also remember that Daniel was willing to pour out his life for his God and such a call may be made upon us one day.


And they overcame him
because of the blood of the Lamb,
and because of the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their life
even unto death.
(Revelation 12:11 - ASV)


For one day, all hell will break loose and that great dragon, Satan will be given enormous authority here on earth. He will make war on we who follow Christ Jesus.

And the dragon waxed wroth with the woman,
and went away to make war
with the rest of her seed
,

that keep the commandments of God,
and hold the testimony of Jesus:
(Revelation 12:17 - ASV)


I beheld, and the same horn
made war with the saints,
and prevailed against them;
(Daniel 7:21 - ASV)

And it was given unto him
to make war with the saints,
and to overcome them:
and there was given to him authority
over every tribe and people
and tongue and nation.
(Revelation 13:7 - ASV)

The war will certainly start off with legal aspects to it. You can't worship, you can't congregate, you can't witness, you must bow down before the emperor, etc. The devil will make sure that in such a war, laws are passed to do just that - attack Christians for that is his primary purpose, to make war against the saints. This is clearly what happens with the Mark of the Beast. A law is passed making taking the mark compulsory along with the worship of an image. The penalty will be death. It will be lawfare but with a specific spiritual or rather, demonic purpose in mind. But God as well will be working his own purpose in this - he is going to allow it. It will test the whole world as well as his saints. Those saints who are here will have to go through it but God will spare others of this great trial which will come upon the whole world (Revelation 3:10).

There will be different ways for different people on how to navigate the coming jungle. Paul when being questioned used his wisdom to confound his interrogators by asserting a resurrection when the council was divided about that issue (Acts 23:6ff). God will show us what to do if we put our trust in him fully. He has done that with me and at times he is very specific about what I am to do. He will do this with you if you are truly walking with him and have chosen to be in his service. But for many, if not most of us who are alive when the mark is instituted, we must steel ourselves for death. The spirit distinctly says that this spirit of anti-Christ will have power to overcome us (in the body). But we ultimately do overcome by the blood of Christ and the word of our testimony.

In conclusion, I see lawfare as intensifying as anti-God forces move more and more into the corridors of power all over the world. False religion, anti-religion and others will work on behalf of the devil and in nine cases out of ten, won't know who their ultimate employer is. We must prepare our hearts for it. The devil is deadly serious about his attacks on we who are of Christ. It is only when he is given authority that he can come after us in full.

Today as we can see, persecution is more a regional phenomenon. We in the west are harassed, but rarely feel the brunt of the kinds of persecution that is felt in many parts of the world. That one day is going to change. When and how I cannot say, but you can be certain that if God warned us about persecution, we must be prepared for it and not try and kid ourselves that persecution only means for someone else.

So as we move through the jungle of our times let us recognize that there are many predators out there who will seek our harm and even our lives and when possible and practicable, let us avoid the traps the devil and his imps will lay for us in the days ahead.


God bless and keep you all in Christ!

Amen!!

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20 Apr

A Curse

Now Jehovah said unto Abram,
Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred,
and from thy father's house, unto the land
that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation,
and I will bless thee, and make thy name great;
and be thou a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee,
and him that curseth thee will I curse:
and in thee shall all the families
of the earth be blessed.
(Genesis 12:1-3 - ASV)

This is one of those subjects that are often best avoided in polite 'Christian' society. But the idea of a curse is a very serious affair and frankly, I am not so sure many 'generic' Christians really believe in and or understand just how serious it is.

In the above passage, God had called out Abraham for a very specific purpose. He was going to use Abraham's obedience and faith as a key instrument to bring salvation to mankind. Obedience because Abraham (at that time Abram) had to do something, he had to get out of his native land and away from his family and go to a place that God did not specify exactly but would reveal at the proper time.

Then he gives him a powerful promise. Anyone who blesses Abraham will be blessed and anyone who curses him will be cursed. As we noted in the last part of Samuel, we see how God does indeed protect his people when they are on a divinely appointed mission. God was going to protect his servant and that he did many times in his long journey.

A curse brothers is a horrible thing. It can entail all manner of evils, illnesses, pain, or poverty. It's something that is a sign of great divine displeasure. The reality of a curse is clearly maintained all through the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses) and there are many blessings and cursing within those pages. A curse is almost always based on a person's behavior.

And it shall come to pass,
when all these things are come upon thee,
the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee,
and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations,
whither Jehovah thy God hath driven thee,
and shalt return unto Jehovah thy God,
and shalt obey his voice according
to all that I command thee this day,
thou and thy children, with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul; that then Jehovah
thy God will turn thy captivity,
and have compassion upon thee,
and will return and gather
thee from all the peoples,

whither Jehovah thy God
hath scattered thee.
(Deuteronomy 30:1-3 - ASV)


I think of the long history of the people of Israel. I think of their first exile to Babylon, but also what I consider the far more important exile which took place after the Romans came in 70 AD. Israel was scattered all through the world. For centuries they wandered and lived as foreigners and 'outsiders' in just about every place they went. Some European nations had periods of time where they expelled the Jews, hated them and treated them with deep contempt. This went on for nearly two millennia. How did Moses prophecy what would happen to the Jews if they did not do as God had commanded them, the God who did all manner of miracles for them and freed them from their slave chains in Egypt?

And thou shalt become an astonishment,
a proverb, and a byword,
among all the peoples
whither Jehovah
shall lead thee away.

(Deuteronomy 28:37 - ASV)


The whole chapter of Deuteronomy chapter 28 describes the blessings and curses that will befall Israel, wholly dependent in on their obedience to or rebellion against God's commandments. When Israel entered into the covenant with the Lord, I just am not so certain they took the Lord at his word and that God has a long memory... the longest in the universe. It is not a mistake that we Christians should repeat. Let Israel's travails be a clear example to us. God will keep his word and deal quite harshly with those who reject him, his word and his ways. Particularly those who entered into covenant with him. Once we have been born into the Kingdom of God by the work of the Holy Spirit, we have entered into a new covenant; a new 'contract' signed, if you will, in the blood of Christ.

We must also remember that God will do his part in the work of salvation, or in any divinely appointed task he has assigned us, but that we must do ours as well. One thing we must do is to keep our faith - mental belief coupled with actual obedience.

It's not talked about much but the NT does have a curse mentioned for those who turn away from God.

For as touching those
who were once enlightened
and tasted of the heavenly gift,
and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
and tasted the good word of God,
and the powers of the age to come,
and then fell away, it is impossible
to renew them again unto repentance;
 seeing they crucify to themselves
the Son of God afresh, and put him
to an open shame. For the land which
hath drunk the rain that cometh oft upon it,
and bringeth forth herbs meet for them
for whose sake it is also tilled,
receiveth blessing from God:
 but if it beareth thorns and thistles,
it is rejected and nigh unto a curse;
whose end is to be burned.
(Hebrews 6:4-8 - ASV)

The principle is not at all dissimilar to what we saw in Deuteronomy 28; there is the blessings that comes from God and then there is the clear prospect of a curse. All depending on the 'fruit' that the 'ground' bears.

By their fruits ye shall know them.
Do men gather grapes of thorns,
or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree
bringeth forth good fruit;
but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,
neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit
is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Therefore by their fruits
ye shall know them.
(Matthew 7:16-20 - ASV)


We must lay these things to heart and not ignore them or think them of little account - the divine 'accountant' is coming and he is a most exacting fellow, he expects a spiritual profit; a basket of good fruit for all the investment he has made and brothers, he had better get it! See the parable of the fig tree in a vineyard (Luke 13:6ff).

How is it that the prophet Malachi talked about the Priests in his time? God was sore upset with his religious representatives. The men who were supposed be guiding Israel. You will see below what God thought about them.

And now, O ye priests,
this commandment is for you.
If ye will not hear,
and if ye will not lay it to heart,

to give glory unto my name,
saith Jehovah of hosts,

then will I send the curse upon you,
and I will curse your blessings; yea,
I have cursed them already,
because ye do not lay it to heart. Behold,
I will rebuke your seed,
and will spread dung upon your faces,
even the dung of your feasts;
and ye shall be taken away with it.
And ye shall know that I have sent
this commandment unto you,
that my covenant may be with Levi,
saith Jehovah of hosts.
(Malachi 2:1-4 - ASV)


Some of you may say that is only meant for the priests under the old law. You would be mostly correct. This is not a generalized threat to all of Israel, only to the priests, the House of Levi.

However...

But ye are an elect race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for God's own possession,
that ye may show forth the
excellencies of him who called you
out of darkness into his marvellous light:
who in time past were no people,
but now are the people of God:
who had not obtained mercy,
but now have obtained mercy.
(1Peter 2:9-10 - ASV)

Yes, we true Christians are a priesthood as well. Again, representatives of God. So let us take such words as we find in Malachi with seriousness. The old Levitical priesthood was one that was not eternal, it was passed on from generation to generation. We are part of something much more permanent and yes, important. Therefore, our responsibility is also that much greater. We must not spurn God's word or hold his words and commandments in light regard. That is the way to very great error. We must not pollute the gospel message any more than the priests were not to pollute the offerings to the Lord (see Galatians 1:8-9).

We who serve God, let us keep faith with him in all things so that we may obtain the blessing and not anger the Lord and incur his displeasure. Or worse, his curse.

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These times? Brothers I see a nation and world heading into a curse. Right now I think God is trying to get our attention but that phase is not going to last forever. I look at our nation and the things going on and I am shocked at the trends in it.

America is changing and its spiritual moorings with God are being slowly unhinged as the nation continues its spiritual drift. Sex-sin is in, God is out; drugs are in, Church is out; false narratives and fake news are in and God's truth is out. I suspect we are a nation that if it does not change its ways, will receive from the hand of the Lord one thing in particular... a curse. I hope and pray that does not occur. Americans have certainly received a great many blessings from God's hand and have been in a great many ways, the envy of the world. But how has the country repaid him?

I hate to write on such a negative subject, but this morning I kind of got a most troubling word from the Lord that I am not going to share, but it did have to do with the whole idea of the curse.

[Note: This piece should not under ANY circumstances be construed (or deliberately misconstrued) to be against Israel or the Jewish people. Too many men in Church history have abused the scriptures and twisted them to incite hatred of the Jewish people. This site is absolutely against any form of hate, including and especially anti-Semitism. Jesus Christ was a Jew and I am and will continue to be one of his followers and maintain a love for the Jewish people as I am commanded to love all men.

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