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])

Eight Souls
In the age when men lived to be nearly a thousand years old, wickedness became so great that God only saved eight people.

Power Of Prayer
A look at prayer and and its great importance to a genuine Christian.

Prayer: Standing In The Gap

An Open Letter To Black Lives Matter:
How to avoid being ensnared in the ongoing Federal operation 'Ni--er Catcher' and 'Black Snare', run out of the US intelligence community and certain sections of Law Enforcement. These operations do exist, though naturally not with those pejorative titles. They are not legal, nor are they officially recognized but key people in high positions run these operations that specifically target Black Americans and certain White Americans who seek justice, truth and use their rights to bring these things back to our once great nation. The impetus comes from the US Intelligence community - LE does the footwork. This is what they did to so many civil rights leaders back in the 60's and 70's. They have honed their skills for the technology of the 21st century.

An Open Letter To Senator Mikulski And The Senate Select Committee On Intelligence

Last Updated
  24 Nov
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

24 Nov

Job Part XXIII

For he is not a man, as I am,
 that I should answer him,
That we should come together in judgment.
There is no umpire betwixt us,
That might lay his hand upon us both.
Let him take his rod away from me,
And let not his terror make me afraid:
Then would I speak, and not fear him;
For I am not so in myself.
(Job 9:32-35 ASV)

Job here acknowledges that God is far superior to man. We may use human anthropomorphism's to describe God, but they are only a frame of reference. God is far above us in every way and Job makes clear that being a man, he has no adequate response to God. Job here bows before God's majesty and power. He goes on to to say that there is no mediator between him and God to judge between the two. This was indeed true in Job's time, but it is not in ours. We have a mediator between man and God.

For there is one God,
one mediator also between God and men,
 himself man, Christ Jesus,
(1Ti 2:5 ASV)

But now hath he obtained a ministry
the more excellent, by so much as he is also the mediator
of a better covenant, which hath been enacted
 upon better promises.
(Heb 8:6 ASV)

And for this cause he is the mediator of a new covenant,
that a death having taken place for the redemption
of the transgressions that were under the first covenant,
they that have been called may receive
the promise of the eternal inheritance.
(Heb 9:15 ASV)

and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant,
and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh
better than that of Abel.
(Heb 12:24 ASV)

We have a mediator, Job did not. Christ now serves a key purpose for us when we sin or are in trouble. We can come to God and claim the precious blood of Jesus shed for us as a sacrifice for our sins and God will hear us.

In verses 34 and 35, Job explains one reason why he has this reverence for God. The Lord's rod is upon him, he knows God is too powerful for him. He knows the power of the Lord first hand and as we can see, he feels it too. Thus he bows under God's power. His request is that God stops chastising him and then he would speak without fear. But he can't; his present situation prevents such a conversation. I think the idea here is that his situation was what has caused so many to think he was some wicked hypocrite. Looking at him - sick, in pain and having lost all, one understands why one would think so. So before men, he has no argument to justify himself. Moreover all the terrors he has suffered has effected his mental state.

My soul is weary of my life;
I will give free course to my complaint;
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
I will say unto God, Do not condemn me;
Show me wherefore thou contendest with me.
(Job 10:1-2 ASV)

Job continues his complaint to God. He is weary of life and Job plans to continue his complaint; even from the depths of his physical and mental anguish.

So Job is going to abandon himself to his complaint and not let up. He wants to know why God is contending with him. We know the answer, but Job did not and God for his own purposes hid his reasons from Job.

We will continue our look at Job, his sufferings his complaints and the replies of his 'comforters' next week, God willing!!

20 Nov


(This was written in late August for insiders...)

In times like these it is most important that we listen to what God has to say. Very important. God can and often does make what we might personally deem as unusual calls upon us. This is often done, sometimes deliberately for things that make no sense in the natural realm and to our finite minds. I know whereof I speak. I also know that the importance of obedience, even when that obedience flies in the face of what we call 'common sense' naturally speaking. Remember Abraham. He was told to go and sacrifice his child, a child he loved and waited for all of his life. Imagine all of the state and federal agencies that would descend on him for doing what God had told him to do! He would probably have had to stand trial if the Lord did not protect him from them. Mind you God hates child sacrifice and the prophets warned continually against it in the Old Testament. Yet God, like with Job was almost certainly testing Abraham, probably because of accusations leveled against him by his and the Lord's enemies. I can hear the devil now.. "Kill his child and he will curse thee to thy face....". Would Abraham sacrifice the thing he loved most in the world for God? This appears to be the main thrust of the test he had to undergo. God was not interested in Abraham killing his child, he wanted to know where his heart really was. Yes, I think it boils down to this.
So when they had broken their fast,
Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John,
lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him,
Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.
He saith unto him,He saith to him
again a second time, Simon,

son of John, lovest thou me? He saith unto him,
 Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.
He saith unto him, Tend my sheep. He saith unto him
 the third time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me?
 Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time,
 Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord,
 thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.
 Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Verily, verily,
I say unto thee, When thou wast young,
thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst
whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old,
thou shalt stretch forth thy hands,
and another shall gird thee,
and carry thee whither
thou wouldest not.
(Joh 21:16-18 ASV)

So it is often of the greatest importance that we listen to God but also to make sure that what we are being told is truly from God. Sometimes God's direction can be most troubling. It may not line up with what we think we should be doing or what the world thinks our responsibilities are. I know I was given such directions late last year. But God has deeply impressed upon me the importance of doing things the way he says because if I don't, trouble awaits. So I must obey and obey I will. I have learned, often the hard way, to listen.

I have a calling. An unusual and humble one, but it is one I have to fulfill. Why has God kept an eye on this humble site and its writer? I cannot say with 100% certainty, but I suspect because of two reasons. My training/abilities and second, because I can be depended on to actually do it, even when the going gets rough as it did a few years ago. I won't fold under pressure, but have the God given wisdom to fight this digital battle (and it is a battle) here in cyberspace with cautious wisdom that is not timid when it comes to preaching the word, lining up our times with Biblical prophecy and giving a very select few of God's people a different view of the world that many in power spend considerable time, effort and money to make sure are kept out of news and other reporting.

Many of you have wondered where all the good commentary has gone. I will give you the answer. It went where God wanted it to go; saved for a very select few. I learned this by mistake, one I did not mark at first. I was warned time and again by the Lord that I was 'casting pearls before the swine' - and that swine don't understand what pearls are, they are kind of dumb and think they are rocks. Consequently, they can often turn and attack you for giving them pearls. I did not listen at first. Then one day (about 6-7 years ago) I had a most vivid dream and after the dream, I got a 'confirmatory rebuke'. God meant business. That was when the site slowly underwent many changes that culminated a couple of years ago. I did not know for certain why God commanded these changes, other than to say that I had a lot of unwanted attention on me and the site and some very, very powerful 'guns' were leveled at both.

Then he gently explained to me why this had to be, at least part of it. Slowly it is becoming clearer as time passes. Censorship? Have we seen that? Take-downs? Have we seen that? Fake News and other shenanigans? Cyberspace is a battlefield and Armed Forces from around the world have indeed deemed it as such. Narratives are important and those that don't take the prevailing line (or lie) can come under attack - according to existing laws or outside of the law. Like anyone who has to fight any kind of battle (kinetic, spiritual or in cyberspace), one needs a strategy and my strategy before those changes was sorely lacking. Bloggers - Christian bloggers particularly need to develop a clear cut strategy based on your abilities, resources and calling. Not having one is like going into battle without a plan. He who does that, in reality does have a plan. One he does not know about. It's called a plan to fail.

Look, I am hardly perfect and have made more than my share of mistakes. Not listing to God on this at first on 'casting pearls' was one of them. He had to make sure that I understood that he was not kidding or joking - come correct, brother Mark!! After the proverbial bump on my head from the Lord's rebuke, I complied.

But making mistakes and learning from them is what 'experience' is all about. I don't kick myself too hard when I make them. I do kick myself especially hard when I repeat the same mistake, and that I rarely do. So as you continue on with your walk brothers and sisters, do your best not to make mistakes, but if you do, learn from them and thus gain spiritual, career and life experience.

Take a lesson from Mark's book of experience. Lesson number one - To obey is better than sacrifice (1Sa 15:22b).

When God gives you a commandment, your best option is always to obey it, no matter what it is and what kind of trouble you can reasonably expect to catch as a direct result of your obedience. Time would fail me of the troubles, evil speaking against me and the snide remarks I have received for doing this site - made by those close to me and former friends and the unusual way it was supported for years. But this site was never my idea, it was God's through and through. I can distinctly remember the Lord speaking to me about writing. At the time, I had a great job. When it was time to go, I went and while at the time I did not realize it, it was time to do what it was he wanted me to do. What is that? If you are reading this now, you know.

So in this time of great change with I suspect much greater changes ahead, particularly on the economic and social front, but also in other important realms, let me be clear - listening to God and being where he (not necessarily you) wants you to be and doing what he wants you to do is going to be, I think imperative. If you want God's protection, then you must take his direction.
Perhaps I use myself as an example too often. So because of that, I will pass on another example that is much better and one I think each of you will get something from.
You know, Tom was a pastor, and he does a sermon one day, and at the end of that sermon, he sits down and God says to him very clearly, He says, “That’s the last sermon you’re ever going to preach.” And he’s immediately called to the Middle East, and he packs up his life. He and his wife, Joanne, they pack up their life and they head to the Middle East into the Gaza Strip.

He’s in the Gaza Strip. His very first mission trip you’d call it, he goes out, and the guy who’s taking him out says, “We’ve got to be prepared to die today. This is going to be dangerous.” All of this was, by the way, right after 9/11. So, that’s the guy you’re dealing with. I think you’re going to enjoy this a lot. -
That by the way, is a most interesting and inspiring article (and a podcast as well) that I think you all will thoroughly enjoy and perhaps learn something from.

I bring this all up because in these times many of you are going to see change. Little changes and big changes, some will move, some will lose jobs and get new ones, some will have major family issues, etc. Then there are some major 'epochal' level changes I think lie not so far head for the western world. As we face these changes, let us all fall in line with God's plan for our lives and not our own. Let us yield ourselves up to God as a holy sacrifice of service so that we can be useful to him during such times. 

Frankly, I think one of the main stumbling blocks to the spiritual development of the Church is the lack of truly dependable men and women that God can count on... really count on - to do his work - according to the scriptures and their admonitions, commandments and encouragement. Too many Church leaders and those in what I call the 'religion business' know how to check the box, get the right degree's, do the right 'networking' to get that cushy job in the religious establishment. But such men are rarely God's choice for key jobs in his Church. God is looking for that person he can depend on. He could depend on Paul. He could depend on Peter. He could depend on David and Jeremiah. He could depend on Job and Abraham. Can he depend on you to do what it is he wants you to do? The first step in this is finding out what it is he wants you to do and that requires what the title of this little piece is...


May God bless each of you in Christ Jesus!!

17 Nov

Job Part XXII

How much less shall I answer him,
And choose out my words to reason with him?
Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer;
 I would make supplication to my judge.
 If I had called, and he had answered me,
Yet would I not believe that he hearkened
 unto my voice.
(Job 9:14-16 ASV)

This passage I think shows Job's humility and that unlike what his accusers say, he was not self-righteous just because he did not confess to sins he did not commit. Job is saying that even if he were in the right and a righteous man, he would not lean on such self justification by way of argument. He would still lose, rather he would take a different tact. He would rather appeal to the awesome majesty and power of God as a supplicant, rather than as an adversary. What Job appears to be doing is yielding to God's sovereignty. God accounts us all as sinners, whatever overly inflated opinion we may have of ourselves and our righteousness.

Yet verse 16 shows the deep despair and psychological state of Job. The statement seems to say that he does not believe that God would hear his complaint. God is so holy, and so powerful, how could he even be bothered with Job's troubles. This is the sense of the passage taken by some. Gill seems to suggest that Job had entered into a prayerless state of mind. That he felt that no matter what he did, God was not going to listen, not under the current set of circumstances. A depressed state of mind is not unheard of, even in the New Testament. Were not the disciples in such a state after the crucifixion of Jesus? When the disciples were told of what God had done, even after Christ foretold it, they did not believe it (
Luke 24:11).

We can all get into a depressed state when in deep trouble or things do not turn out the way we plan. In both cases, Job's and the resurrection of Christ, things may not have been going according to the plan of those who waited on God, but they were going just as God had planned it. Job had to go trough the trial of his faith and faithfulness to God, Christ had to die and be resurrected. Job, the disciples, even Christ himself had gone through doubt and difficulty (Matt 26:36ff; 27:46), as all those who love God must do.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice,
 though now for a little while,
if need be, ye have been put to
grief in manifold trials,
that the proof of your faith,
being more precious than gold
that perisheth though it is proved by fire,
 may be found unto praise and glory
and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ:
(1Pe 1:6-7 ASV)

Job continues his response to Bildad

For he breaketh me with a tempest,
And multiplieth my wounds without cause.
He will not suffer me to take my breath,
But filleth me with bitterness.
If we speak of strength, lo, he is mighty!
And if of justice, Who, saith he, will summon me?
Though I be righteous,
 mine own mouth shall condemn me:
Though I be perfect,
 it shall prove me perverse.
I am perfect;
I regard not myself;
I despise my life.
It is all one; therefore I say,
He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.
If the scourge slay suddenly,
He will mock at the trial of the innocent.
(Job 9:17-23 ASV)

Job here in this passage continues to maintain his innocence maintaining that the Lord has struck him without cause and then complains about his significant physical distress. And then goes on to demonstrate God's power. Job also is careful again, not to justify himself  before God. Job implies that anyone who claims such spiritual perfection only  demonstrates his own sinfulness. A person who says such things does not know himself. If I had to put it into our own vernacular, I would put it like this, 'I'd be out of my mind to claim such sinless perfection.' The last part of this passage is interesting and has a slight reminiscences of some of the 'less uplifting' observations of Ecclesiastes.

 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth,
that there are righteous men
unto whom it happeneth
according to the work of the wicked;
again, there are wicked men
to whom it happeneth
according to the work of the righteous:
I said that this also is vanity.
(Ecc 8:14 ASV)

All things come alike to all:
there is one event to the righteous
and to the wicked;
to the good and to the clean
and to the unclean;
to him that sacrificeth
and to him that sacrificeth not;
as is the good,
so is the sinner;
and he that sweareth,
as he that feareth an oath.
(Ecc 9:2 ASV)

Job's point is an important one. Just because sudden calamity befalls someone, or illness or some other major disaster, this does not mean that the person is under God's judgment. Yes, it could be that. It could be chastisement or it could be a trial of faith, if it happens to a righteous man. Such calamities are not necessarily evidence of sinfulness or lack of holiness any more than copious wealth is a sure sign of God's approval.

The last passage should be taken as a poetry. God of course does not laugh at the trial of the innocent. What Job appears to be saying is that God often does not get involved in such matters... evidence Job's own sufferings. God, in Job's depressed frame of mind, seems indifferent to the sufferings of the children of men.

The earth is given into the hand of the wicked;
He covereth the faces of the judges thereof:
If it be not he, who then is it?
Now my days are swifter than a post:
They flee away, they see no good,
They are passed away as the swift ships;
As the eagle that swoopeth on the prey.
If I say, I will forget my complaint,
I will put off my sad countenance,
and be of good cheer; I am afraid of all my sorrows,
 I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent.
 I shall be condemned; Why then do I labor in vain?
 If I wash myself with snow water,
And make my hands never so clean;
Yet wilt thou plunge me in the ditch,
And mine own clothes shall abhor me.
(Job 9:24-31 ASV)

Job continues the same rather depressing thoughts. That wickedness is increased because God does not move in the affairs of men in ways one would expect. Wicked men run things. The phrase 'he covereth the faces of the judges' has met with many varying interpretations. but the sense seems to be that the wicked are in charge and are blinded to true justice and often use their power to do what wicked men do, evil. Again Job seems to use his own situation as an example of this. His life is passing quickly and he is prey to his enemies. He uses the eagle metaphor to describe just fast his days are fleeing away. He wants to forget his troubles but is afraid that his tribulations will only return to plague his mind. Job seems to be seeking a relief to his sufferings as much to end the pain but wants to have some kind of justification as evidence of his innocence.

Verse 29 is probably mistranslated (in the KJV) and adds the word 'if' where it does not belong. Translators often do that when they believe a word is implied and italicize it. The sense of the verse more seems to be 'God holds me guilty, so why bother arguing with him about it?' This seems to be much of the point of this whole response that Job makes to Bildad.
No matter how hard he tries to justify himself and how righteous he see's himself by using snow water (seen as being very clean) in his poetic narrative, in God's eyes, he is nothing but a filthy man, freshly arisen from a muddy ditch.  Job's words are spoken out of the depths of mental depression, are nevertheless echoed by the prophets.
For we are all
become as one that is unclean,
and all our righteousnesses
are as a polluted garment:
and we all do fade as a leaf;
and our iniquities, like the wind,
take us away.
(Isa 64:6 ASV)

We shall continue our look at Job's sufferings and the spiritual debate between him and his three miserable comforters as God allows!

12 Nov

As the nation eagerly awaits the recounts and legal challenges after the election and given some of the razor thin vote margins in some places I thought I would post this piece that I wrote last month (take note of the tenses) for all who serve the Lord in spirit and in truth, the few who really do those things God demands of us or at least make every effort to do so.

Quietness and Peace

A Song of Ascents; of David.
Jehovah, my heart is not haughty,
nor mine eyes lofty;
Neither do I exercise myself in great matters,
Or in things too wonderful for me.
Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child with his mother,
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in Jehovah From this time forth
and for evermore.
(Psa 131:1-3 ASV)

When our world goes crazy, things get hard for me personally or in times like this, where there may be an impending crisis, I remember the words of this Psalm, where I quiet myself like a child. I cease to wonder about what will happen in the midst of the crisis and I put myself under the care and protection of a loving and generous creator.

It is not always easy to do, but I have learned to do it regularly. As we move towards election day not knowing what will happen, I think we should do our best to step back and as much as possible not get too involved in this election, getting on one side or the other, thinking one side is going to do wonderful things for the country and the other side will lead us into the mire. Such thinking, I believe demonstrate the very kinds of naivete that has caused this nation to go into the crisis she is now in and which may intensify after election day.  For we Christians, we must learn a simple lesson of submission to whatever God has in store for this country... for good or ill.

One reason why I think so many Christians get so partisan is because they just don't really trust in God, nor do they take their citizenship in heaven seriously. America is not the Kingdom of heaven and like in the days of Israel, God can and does allow evil rulers to sit in places of power. When a people consistently forsake him and don't want to go God's way, he does allow them to go their own way. We must remember this in the coming election. We must submit to whatever God has ordained for the country. Sometimes a 'victory' can turn out to be no victory at all and a seeming loss, may not be as inglorious as it might first appear.

It is in times like these I just pay little attention to the 'big politics' of our nation, the barbs on TV, the debates, the Social Media madness... brothers, I honestly just don't pay much attention to all of that. I have discovered that most of politics as Americans understand it, is theater. It's kind of like shadow boxing with the men who fill the campaign coffers with money being the ones who always 'win' on election day.

You see, since the days of the Kennedy Assassination, I have always seen this country as being run by what I will call a 'permanent coup'. A conglomeration of interests that really control the country. From Wall Street, to the major defense contractors, to the major energy giants to newer power players in Medicine and now High Tech. These are the people who 'decide' in America. They form their societies and groups, sometimes secret, sometimes not and they have tremendous influence over the government. Any President who runs afoul of these interest is going to be in for a very rough ride and they will one way or another, either undermine his agenda or get him out of there. I maintain this - that these interest for the most part decide who we the people get to vote on every four years. We merely give the nod to a candidate that is already in the 'pocket' of these powerful players. When President Eisenhower gave his speech about the Military Industrial Complex, he was warning the country about the most powerful part of those interests that existed back then.

Now the last thing I want to do is to 'mind high things' here. But at the same time, I think if we step back and think about our elections more along these lines, we can be much more calm and less partisan about whatever results may be announced once the votes are counted.

A Great Unruly Confusion.

In the midst of such a time, a time of confusion, argument, hostility, riots, violence, hate, fake news, lies and folly, I find a quiet place and some quiet time and do my best to put the madness of the hour in perspective. There just isn't much you can do to help a people like that and when that kind of behavior more and more becomes the new normal, you know we are all in trouble.

I just hand these elections and these increasingly unruly political controversies over to the Lord. He knows what is best and what is truly best may not be what is best for the country. Let us all remember that it is God who sets up nations, blesses them, chastises them, humbles them or even destroys them, according to his good pleasure and his ultimate sovereignty. We have a say at election time, but the ultimate arbiter of who becomes our leaders rests with God. He can raise up and pull down, bless and yes even curse. We Christians would be wise to remember these things.

If this nation is going into confusion, let us remember this.

for God is not a God of confusion,
but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,
(1Co 14:33 ASV)

Confusion? That is the devil's territory. He can do a lot of evil while people are distracted in confusion and controversy.

For where jealousy and faction are,
 there is confusion and every vile deed.
(Jas 3:16 ASV)

What do we see here now in America? Factions. Faction left and faction right all vying for a political office that has far less real power than folks imagine. But we Christians are called to peace.

When things happen and people get emotional and angry I just tend to 'withdraw' emotionally and let them have their 'fit'. I am not going to get infected with the political viruses of the day. I have 'immunized' myself with a 'peace vaccine'. I seek peace, long for it and when the signs of hatred, fear, anger, discord, accusations, etc., start to appear, I quietly and quickly make my way for the exit door. Besides, I just find that most people, when it comes to so many of the controversies of our times, are woefully ignorant. Sure they can quote what they heard on TV from the left or the right, but the real deeper issues they have these 'firm opinions' about? You find that once you scratch the surface of their rage, a great big void of ignorance too often is present. This may sound a little too pat, but I find that political rage is too often the result of political ignorance. The quiet wise man is too often drowned out by the shouting malcontent.

Now I tend to take politics with care. Care for the facts -  all of them, but also with a clear air of detachment. While I do vote, I don't expect much from politicians. They tend to promise mountains and deliver molehills, sometimes of a variety that have a peculiar odor to them. A political promise is something I just tend to never believe. There are rare occasions they are kept, but all to often they are not. The promise then becomes a political issue for next election. Thus, the promise is never fulfilled but can always be a perpetual political issue that energies the troops.

In closing the scriptures exhort us to quietness.

He exhorted Israel to this in the days of Isaiah.

For thus said the Lord Jehovah,
the Holy One of Israel, In returning
and rest shall ye be saved;
in quietness and in confidence
shall be your strength.
And ye would not:
(Isa 30:15 ASV)

And the work of righteousness shall be peace;
and the effect of righteousness,
quietness and confidence for ever.
And my people shall abide
in a peaceable habitation,
and in safe dwellings,
and in quiet resting-places.
(Isa 32:17-18 ASV)

I think this one is particularly important for our times for I see much of the political debate in our nation as being a lot of rumor and gossip mongering... about things that may or may not have even happened. Here is the Apostle's admonition.

For we hear of some that walk among you disorderly,
that work not at all, but are busybodies.
Now them that are such we command
and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ,
that with quietness they work,
 and eat their own bread.
(2Th 3:11-12 ASV)

Now the Lord of peace himself
give you peace at all times in all ways.
The Lord be with you all.
(2Th 3:16 ASV)

Quietness and peace. Yes, brother as I have gotten older I can say this - I have come to treasure both as some of the greatest blessings a man can have. A slave with a whip on his back can have neither; nor can homeless man with hunger gnawing at his belly. Nor can a person who holds high political office as his time is managed by others. No, quietness and peace are blessings and if God has given you these things, thank him, for they come from the hand of the Lord. I have also learned that true humility will lead a man to a place of quietness and peace. He learns his place in this world and knows that whatever is going on in the world or in his life that...

...this too shall pass.

Better is a handful, with quietness,
 than two handfuls with labor
and striving after wind.
(Ecc 4:6 ASV)

10 Nov

Site Note

Blessings to all of you who come by here and may God look out for those of you who seek and serve the Lord in these times.

I do apologize for not having much election related info up here. That is by design. One of the reasons why so many old pages are gone and I have not put much real news up here is because of the antics that were pulled on me a few years ago. I just decided that at least  until this election we just had passed, this would be the way the site would be run... perhaps for good.

I still do an awful lot of writing for insiders and very little of it makes it on this page. I wish I could put more up here, but no one really seems to be able to really control some of the elements that work inside some of our Federal agencies, thus I am erring on the side of caution and direction. Staying out of the limelight helps ensure that the site remains and is not taken down, censored or I wind up 'set up' by those who have long hated me and what I do here.

After the next President has been fully chosen and is seated and there is clear stability and acceptance of him in his office, I may (no promises) begin to let just a few more insiders into the site. That won't be until late Spring 2021 at the earliest. I know some of you have asked to get in and on a couple of occasions I have relented. But as I am just a one man show here and doing a website these days is not nearly as easy as it used to be. I must keep it small and easy to manage. While many webmasters were complaining about losing a lot of traffic over the past couple of years, I lost a lot as well, but that was very much by design. I wanted a smaller site, one that had a much smaller internet footprint, if you will. So while many of you are or have been a little upset, what has happened here was by design and things have gone pretty much the way I wanted them to. Smaller, easier, fewer 'problem readers' and those who are insiders really do appreciate what I do.

As I was given some directions a couple of years ago to subtly shift the emphasis here to some degree, you notice that I have been doing some Biblical expositions. I post the older ones here and the newer ones are done once a week for insiders. But we still look at all kinds of other things as well on the private page; the massacre's in Colombia (yes some new ones of late), China, the geopolitical battle between China and the US, arms control, pandemics, persecution, wars, unrest, tech and surveillance, important weapons sales and of course where I have been told time and again this site excels, economics/finance as it effects policy, politics and prophecy.

So I know many of you wanted more info on the elections. Sorry, but not to worry... it's a big world wide web - you just have to sift through a lot of junk to find the sites that have the pearls and diamonds. That is not so easy in today's highly partisan and echo chamber journalistic environment nor in many of the 'breast milk' and 'baby food' Christian sites that never deal with some of the weightier (and meatier) issues facing Christians, the Church or the world we believers must live in.

I still am here writing on these and other matters to the best of my ability according to the way God wants this thing done. I never asked to do this site but have been strictly charged to continue it. I will obey, knowing how painful and serious disobedience and rebellion can be. So bear with me over the next few months and let's see how things go in the country, the White House, the House and Senate and let us always seek God's face on important matters facing us, the Church and the world we live in. Regardless of who actually gets into the White House in January, it is important that we keep them in our prayers and never let partisanship stand in the way of our duty - yes duty - to pray for (not against) our leaders.

God bless all who serve the Lord, Jesus Christ,

Brother Mark

6 Nov

Job Part XXI
We left off last week with the Bildad's speech. He marked that God would one day put laughter and joy in Jobs mouth and that Job's enemies would pay for what they did to him. These enemies probably laughed and sniggered behind Job's back at his sudden and complete ruin. Brothers, I cannot say this enough - never kick a man when he is down, even if he has done you great wrong in the past. God will surely see it and mark it. 

Job begins his reply with the following.

Then Job answered and said,
Of a truth I know that it is so:
But how can man be just with God?
If he be pleased to contend with him,
He cannot answer him one of a thousand.
 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength:
Who hath hardened himself
against him,
and prospered?--
Him that removeth the mountains,
and they know it not,
 When he overturneth them
in his anger;
(Job 9:1-5 ASV)

In short, what Job is saying is that he basically agrees with Bildad. He offers no counterargument. Moreover, he makes it clear that no man can justify himself before the almighty. Job's observation is an important one in that no one is sinless and we are all imperfect before God. Job also says that God's wisdom precludes any answers to him that we may have. Then he goes on to glorify God's wisdom and strength.
Job goes on to note that none who have fought against God have prospered. We can look back at Pharaoh in Egypt, though those events were probably in Job's future. He hardened his heart against God and lost. History is replete with those who strove against and began to rail against him. Remember Nebuchadnezzar? He went mad when he began to turn on God.

Those who work against God work against their own interests and their own souls and usually, they don't even know it. But this is the fate of many men. They get puffed up with arrogance and rage and think they are gods. History is replete with the tragedy of such men. Mankind? We exist somewhere between the angels and the the apes in the jungle and yet some of us are thinking we are gods and speak wicked words against the creator.

What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
And the son of man, that thou visitest him?
(Psa 8:4 ASV)

We have no right to be puffed up with pride or arrogance, nor to think that we are righteous and holy. None. God can snuff us out like a smoldering candle should he choose to and cause the universe to forget we ever existed. 

The last verse in the above passage (5) is poetic explaining of God's strength. It seems the allusion is to earthquakes. Such quakes were fairly common, particularly in Biblical times and they are mentioned in a few places in scripture.

That shaketh the earth out of its place,
And the pillars thereof tremble;
That commandeth the sun, and it riseth not,
And sealeth up the stars;
That alone stretcheth out the heavens,
And treadeth upon the waves of the sea;
 That maketh the Bear, Orion,
and the Pleiades, And the chambers of the south;
That doeth great things past finding out,
Yea, marvellous things without number.
(Job 9:6-10 ASV)
Here Job continues to extol God's power and strength. Here Job remarks more on God's power in the heavens, but also the sea. The sun, the stars and more show God's power. The reference to the chambers of the south probably refers to the stars in the southern part of he sky, though some think the reference is to a phrase used by the Chaldeans who called the constellations the mansions of the sun (Pulpit Commentary). It could refer to the different constellations seen in the southern hemisphere, but such travel was not known to have occurred in the times some think Job lived. Yet we cannot be sure that travelers and merchants were not aware of the differences in the stars and reported their findings in tales of their travels.

God does things that are awesome and powerful and while mankind today is learning more and more about the material world around us, we are like a small illiterate child who is nearly blind, lost in a library full of millions of books written in a thousand different dead languages. God's power and knowledge are infinite.

Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not:
 He passeth on also, but I perceive him not.
Behold, he seizeth the prey, who can hinder him?
Who will say unto him, What doest thou?
God will not withdraw his anger;
The helpers of Rahab do stoop under him.
How much less shall I answer him,
And choose out my words to reason with him?
(Job 9:11-14 ASV)

This passage indicates God's power and the evidence of it though we cannot see him ourselves. God's work is beyond our human and exceptionally limited comprehension.
This idea is marked in the Apostle's John's works
No man hath seen God at any time;
the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father,
 he hath declared him.
(Joh 1:18 ASV)

No man hath beheld God at any time:
if we love one another, God abideth in us,
and his love is perfected in us:
(1Jn 4:12 ASV)
Why is this? We don't know for sure but I think a few factors probably play a part.
1. We are sinful and in a spiritual sense, filthy creatures. We simply cannot approach him who is holy and pure.

2. God I believe (personal opinion) dwells on a very different plane of existence that we do. While we know that there is a temporal/material plane of existence and also a spiritual one, God himself may exist permanently in a form that encompasses and transcends both and more than our minds can comprehend, though he is indeed identified as Spirit (John 4:24). Such things are not easy for our finite minds to even vaguely comprehend, but we must remember that nothing that exists, not in the spiritual realm nor the material one without God having created it (for he made all things). We make a terrible mistake when we try and place God in any 'box' based on our very limited human understanding. His power, ways and substance defy any human description we can make.

No one can hinder God's purposes. They may try but they will fail and who can question God as to his purposes (vs 12)?

Verse 13 above is not as clear as the others in meaning. Different commentators have had different views on it. But the passage seems to indicate God's anger at those who oppose him and get proud enough to make themselves 'gods' and oppose him.

The word for Rahab (KJV - Proud) is this one in Strong's and it should be noted here.
rahab rah'-hab
from 7292, bluster(-er):--proud, strength.
see HEBREW for 07292

The name may mean a people known for their pride, 'the Rahab'. I think the comment out of the Pulpit commentary is useful (comment to verse 13). Gill's comment is also interesting.

'Rahab' may indicate an actual ancient people that became a metaphor for pride.

These helpers seem to be men who give support to the proud and the evil. Gill thinks this could refer to men in power in government who should be helping institute justice, but rather assist the crooks and the proud.

The last passage seems to mean that if these powerful and proud men have to stoop under God's authority, how can Job answer God, especially in his current humiliated state?

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

3 Nov

Job Part XX

We left off last time at verse 8:13 and I did not get to verse fourteen, though I quoted it, where the hypocrites house is being described.

Whose confidence shall break in sunder,
And whose trust is a spider's web.
He shall lean upon his house,
but it shall not stand:
He shall hold fast thereby,
but it shall not endure.
(Job 8:14-15 ASV)

This is an apt description. The spider when he weaves his web thinks it will make him safe. But a spiders web can bear no weight and in realty offers no real protection and is one day swept away.  A man who trusts in his hypocrisies is like a man who leans on a spiders web. He trusts, if you will, in a web of falsities. It is what we see so much in our world today, in the business world, political arena in international politics. Men forget God, trust in their own double standards and falsehoods and are thus destroyed. I think Matthew Henry hits the nail on the head with this comment here.
The hypocrite cannot gain his hope without some false rotten ground or other out of which to raise it, and with which to support it and keep it alive, any more than the rush can grow without mire. He grounds it on his worldly prosperity, the plausible profession he makes of religion, the good opinion of his neighbors, and his own good conceit of himself, which are no solid foundation on which to build his confidence. - Matthew Henry (1662 -1714)
But what I see in this whole scene and speech is Bildad is not so subtlety accusing Job of being a hypocrite, in a round about fashion. He seems to be saying in subtle but unspoken accusation, "You lived your life like a holy man but because God has now judged you, it is clear that your life was a lie and that you were nothing more than a hypocrite". No, he does not come out and say that but his words, as I read them seem to imply it.

But I personally like the spiders web metaphor as it is so apt. One can see a spiders web, but try and lean on it and see what happens. It may be present but can you build the foundation of your home with it? So it is with those who build their lives on lies and hypocrisy. A person who trusts and builds on them is doing something most foolish. 

He is green before the sun,
And his shoots go forth over his garden.
His roots are wrapped about the stone-heap,
 He beholdeth the place of stones.
If he be destroyed from his place,
Then it shall deny him, saying,
I have not seen thee. Behold,
this is the joy of his way;
And out of the earth
shall others spring.
(Job 8:16-19 ASV)

The idea behind these versus is to show that these people are indeed green before the sun. The idea here seems a bit obscure today, but probably has a connotation that these men, before the heat of the day and things are tough, they prosper as the sunlight hits them but but in the heat of the day, cannot endure.

Those of you who have been with me some time know I love Shakespeare and the depth of his understanding of men as well as the poetry that interlace the scripts of his plays. The passage below seems to capture the general idea Bildad is relaying.  It was spoken by Cardinal Wolsey just as he falls out of favor with King Henry VIII. His fall in the play happened for many reasons, his greed and his pride were among the two chiefest. Here is a snippet of that speech.

This is the state of man! Today he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope; tomorrow blossoms,
And hears his blushing honours thick upon him:
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a ripening, nips his shoot,
And then he falls, as I do.

- Henry VIII
by William Shakespeare
(Act III Scene II)
as quoted from Albert Barnes Commentary


Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man,
Neither will he uphold the evil-doers.
He will yet fill thy mouth with laughter,
 And thy lips with shouting.
They that hate thee
shall be clothed with shame;

And the tent of the wicked
shall be no more.
(Job 8:20-22 ASV)

God always looks out for the innocent and the righteous and Bildad correctly observes that God sets his face against the evildoers. Bildad here foresees a good future for Job and that God will restore him and put laughter in his mouth once again. Bildad here shows a little more optimism about Job's future. Moreover somehow, despite his insinuations, he knows that those that hate Job and any righteous man will be clothed with shame. It is as the ancient promise made to Abraham has fallen on Job, I will bless those who bless thee, and curse those who curse thee (Gen 12:3). This is a powerful blessing upon those whom the Lord loves and befriends. Bildad ends his first speech on a note of hope for Job.

Next week, we will look at Job's response, the good Lord willing!

29 Oct

Confusion Of Faces

O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face,
to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers,
because we have sinned against thee.
To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness;
for we have rebelled against him;
neither have we obeyed the voice of Jehovah our God,
 to walk in his laws, which he set before us
by his servants the prophets.
(Dan 9:8-10 ASV)

May this day find you all in peace, in faith, full of hope and with a godly, positive attitude!

Today, we are going to leave off the news and look at something different.

In the passage above, Daniel is in the middle of a prayer to God about the sins of the people, Israel, who rebelled against God and after many long years of pleading with his people and sending in prophets to warn them, sent them into exile and thrust them from the land that he had promised to give them in the days of Abraham and later Moses and Joshua. I note that Daniel does not say 'to them belongeth confusion of faces',  but to us.... This says something not only about Daniel, but the nature of sin - individual guilt and collective guilt. Daniel was probably very young when he was hauled off to Babylon to serve in the King's court. We don't know for sure, but Daniel and his compatriots were probably in their late teens or early twenties. Even though he was such a youth when hauled away, he acknowledges the collective sin of the people and does not stand afar off with a 'holier than thou' attitude claiming to be the only righteous man. No, he includes himself with the nation that has sinned greatly against God and whom God has justly and rather severely punished. Everyone, high and low was guilty of sinning against the Lord. Daniel did not absolve himself.

Let us keep in mind that this long prayer was spoken by the prophet after been given a key part of the interpretation of a vision. The vision really troubled Daniel and it was probably something that was on his mind for many long months. I say this because we should note that some time passed between Daniel 8 (see verse one) and Daniel 9 (see verse one and two). I refer to the important vision of the Ram and the He-goat that he saw while at the river Ulai, while living in the palace at Shuhan. This was the second vision he had received from the Lord. The first vision was of the four great beasts
(Dan 7:1). After the vision in Chapter eight, Daniel took to fasting and prayer. The vision clearly unnerved him and sent him down on his knee's in prayer.

When God gives a person a vision or a word, this is often the result. I have had a few word's in my time and some visions. I confess, I am not wild about getting them. Some people are, I am not. When I get them I am not sure if I should share them. I often do, sometimes I don't.

Now many prophets like to make this vision out to be relevant only to the time of Antiochus and Alexander. I won't say that it does not fit well for these two rulers, only that I think they were merely a 'type' of the kinds of rulers and things that will transpire just before the Lord returns to set up his Kingdom. In short, the prophecies are pretty accurate for those times, but have a greater relevancy for the end times.

I note that in Daniel's vision, in Chapter eight we have the vision of the beasts. In Chapter nine we have the two horned system of Media-Persia. Track that with the same things we see in Revelation chapter 13. The beast is followed by a two horned system. In Daniel, we see four beasts, but in Revelation we see just one beast but with characteristics not unlike those in Daniel. Then there is that dreadful forth beast (in Daniel) that I think is what Revelation chapter 13 is mostly about... that and the false prophet and his satanic system. Keep this in mind because many students of prophecy have not taken the statement of the angel who gave the interpretation literally. Here is what the angel Gabriel said.

So he came near where I stood;
and when he came, I was affrighted,
and fell upon my face: but he said unto me,
Understand, O son of man;
for the vision belongeth

to the time of the end.
(Dan 8:17 ASV)

Now I just don't think it any kind of prophetic coincidence that these two visions on the end times are so similar. No, the time of the end referred to I believe, is the very end, just before Christ sets up his kingdom on earth. A time of great tribulation for the world and the people of God. Daniel and Revelation have to be taken together to get full understanding of 'the time of the end'.

Indeed, it was as a result of Daniel's prayer and fasting that even more spiritual light came his way on the time of the end. The prophecy of the 70 weeks was given him. But note something because I think it important. Daniel was confessing the sins of the people; he was begging God to forgive and show mercy. Also keep in mind that this prayer followed him studying the prophecies of Jeremiah and the 70 years allotted for Israel's chastisement
(Dan 9:2). In response to Daniel's prayer came an answer with regards to both the 70 years and the sin of the people. This is what this divine  word/prophecy of the 70 weeks given by Gabriel was all about. "Seventy" and the sin of Israel which Daniel was beseeching the Lord about in his supplication.

Seventy weeks
are decreed upon thy people
and upon thy holy city,
to finish transgression,
 and to make an end of sins,
and to make reconciliation for iniquity,
and to bring in everlasting righteousness,
and to seal up vision and prophecy,
and to anoint the most holy.
(Dan 9:24 ASV)

So we see that this angel was directly answering Daniel's supplication - not with something irrelevant to his prayers, but with something that was directly asked by Daniel of the Lord. Forgiveness of those sins would come and the vision of the 70 weeks describes how God is going to do it. It is interesting to note that the JFB commentary remarks how the angel refers to Israel as 'thy people' and notes this may have been because of their sins, God could no longer fully claim them as his. This is the same kind of that happened in Exodus (32:7). God calls Israel 'thy people' to Moses when they sinned. God can reject his people (see 2Kings 17:20; Psa 89:38; Hos 4:6)

How can that be? One word - a three letter word that is no longer in vogue in our society. That word is sin. Also known as iniquity, evil, wickedness... those things God hates and deep down inside, we know are wrong, but we do them anyway. Israel showed such a consistent pattern of it that God could no longer ignore their sins.

But I look at our nation today, the American nation and see many of the same patterns of Ancient Israel. A nation founded on God and by a great many Christians whom men in power openly prayed to in public. Now we are a nation of drug addicts, war mongering, abortion, adulterers, sodomites, gangsters, fraudsters, violent mobs and increasingly mentally unstable people  - this in a nation with a car in nearly every garage, running water, electricity, plenty of food and much much more. Things we take for granted. We have been blessed beyond measure and how do we return those blessings to God? With wickedness so abominable some of it would probably make Caligula recoil in horror. Some of these things may be legal and OK in the eyes of man's law, but not in God's eyes.

The ugly side of all of this is that we have to use politically correct language to deny the many evils we do. I read the other day the CRS report on the SCOTUS nominee's proclivities on Fetal Viability. You can find it here. What kind of nation decides about killing the unborn like this and as we have seen in the media, attacks a person who might put some limits on this. How about selling baby parts? Poke around and read the stories - all of them not just those claiming to 'debunk' it make up your own mind as to what is going on. 

But this is the path the nation has chosen. It's the path many women have chosen when they walk willingly into an abortion clinic and destroy the very fruit of their own womb. This is America today. More and more we as a nation are little more than a walking, talking, digitally proficient abomination. Mind you, I am not saying there isn't still some good in the country and some wonderful people here. There certainly are. No, rather I am saying that our sins and crimes as a nation more and more are crying out for judgment. But God would much rather people turn from their sins and repent. Much, much rather.

What happened to Israel back then? As Daniel put it in his prayer, they got confusion of faces. They were confounded, in a quandary, confused and despondent. They were at a loss for their God was supposed to protect them, but forsook them. But they forgot about the main part of their 'contract' with the Almighty, their covenant. That they had to keep themselves from sin and evil and serve the Lord. If a man, woman, organization, Church or state wants God's blessings, they have to honor him - not just with the lips but with the heart and with deeds as well.

I think we Americans, the Church as well have failed God and while there may be a few patches of holiness here and there in America; a few places, a few Churches, a few aid and humanitarian organizations that have not forgotten the God who blesses us all, they are pretty much the exception. As I watch today's stars, media personalities and glitterati make their splash in the headlines on a daily basis, I almost never hear anyone give thanks, glory or any kind of remembrance to God or his son, Christ Jesus. It does happen from time to time, but it's pretty rare.

But I suspect that Judgment in the form of chastisement has already started in this nation. When this pandemic first started I won't forget a link I got from a long time reader (whom I have not heard from in a while). It showed the Las Vegas Strip utterly devoid of any activity. That was quite a picture particularly for a city that never sleeps... and casino's and entertainment were always open 24 hours a day. Now I am looking at Hollywood and the serious troubles they are in. Movie theaters are really having a difficult time. I read the other day where some were offering dirt cheap rates for private functions. Some may run out of money in a few months. These are two major industries in America that deal with entertainment. Parts of Hollywood in particular really worked hard for sex sin and worked very hard against Christians not so long ago. Now look at them. Is God sending them a message? I think so. What could that message be? Is it, 'repent or see your industry in tatters and your million dollar mansions going up on the auction block?'. That seems to be the way it's going. But during Obama's reign they were sitting high on the hog probably thinking no one could touch their billion dollar business model. Something now has and not insignificantly. In fact many of Americans pleasure centers are in serious trouble.

My point is not to 'throw stones' at others, but to say that the nation is sailing into judgment. If we don't change our course the country is not likely to see many more blessings upon it. The people may cheer a new set of leaders rising to political prominence, but it will be like clapping and cheering for one's own execution, not knowing the administrative and legal 'ropes' and 'scaffold' they will construct is for ones own self and not those you were hoping/thinking it was for.

What will such judgment look like? Confusion, a nation confounded a nation with a million problems with no solutions. Those who offer good ones are scandalized, imprisoned or shot down in cold blood while the voices of continued chaos, sin and confusion continue to rise to political, spiritual and social prominence.

Is this America's future? I hope not, but I cannot say that such a possibility can be avoided if the nation does not begin to seriously take a deep and deed-changing spiritual inventory.

God, he has been most patient. He will probably be a patient a little longer. The thing is, God has a way of getting a message to the stubborn, the hard-headed and the rebellious. It isn't that he hates us, he does not. It's that this evil and wickedness thing is a major issue with him and he is not going to let it stand or let those who practice it get away with it. This is the aspect of God's character that the people of our times are missing.

So now, we seem to be moving into 'attention getting' time. What time is that? It is a time when God sends things to get our attention. If one level of trouble does not do it, another level will follow. He does not want to punish, he wants to forgive after.... and only after we change our ways.

Finally, let me say that I am not one who thinks new politicians and new laws will cause this nation to reverse its spiritual course. This is one reason I have not supported laws to 'stop this' or 'encourage that'. The tide may turn and trickle temporarily in one direction only to flood back in the other. No, this is an issue of character. The character of the American nation and her people. Politicians are merely a refection of them in our system of government. If the system if viewed as morally vacant and corrupt with crazy wars that kill thousands it's only because the people went into the polls and voted for the two party system that bring us all of these things.... time and again. Despite their theatrical 'outrage' about such things, their voting patters would seem to indicate that they would not have it any other way.

For your prayerful consideration.

Brother Mark

27 Oct


Many of you wonder why I am doing Job when there is so much going on. An election, COVID-19, major employment issues across the land, polarization/protests in the nation, a new war looking to start between Armenia and Azerbaijan... I could go on and on. In times like this perhaps you think Job irrelevant.

It isn't. The other day I read that there are over 50 million Americans who are teetering on food insecurity. Food banks and charities are overburdened. Many can't feed all those in need and many of those in need never needed that kind of charity before. I also read a story about NYC and their problems with growing hunger. The stories are not encouraging as for many, utility moratoriums and rent moratoriums will soon end, if they have not already. People not working and have lost their work because of the lockdowns or their place of employment went belly up... the situation for many is dire. Yes, there has been some good economic news and some are getting back to work. But a lot of folks, that is not going to happen anytime soon.

My point is that for a lot of folks, a time of trials, hardship and yes, suffering lies ahead. Yes, I don't think there is any getting around it and when I started to post this series on the public page (this was actually done back in 2018) I figured that it might be helpful to some who may have had jobs when I started this series, but might not by the time this series is done. Or those who have loved ones who are in hospital because of this or worse, lost someone close due to COVID-19.

Job's sufferings are a lesson for us all and that is why I post this now for all. Let no one who reads this think they cannot be touched by the events that are now transpiring across the globe. The UN is warning about rising poverty as these lockdowns effect the poorest in the world the worst. In fact, they have cautioned on further lockdowns for this very reason.

So let none of us get smug... like Job's friends. They thought they had all the answers and in reality were utterly clueless. Some of their comments were cold, merciless and judgemental. God was sore displeased with their treatment of Job in his hour of deep suffering.

So for those of you who are upset because I am not dealing with the every-four-year-madness of the US political system or joining in the Social Media echo chamber, it is because whoever wins, the major problems in this nation are not going to be fixed. The hungry man will still need food; the homeless guy, shelter and the orphan a safe place. The unemployed man will still wonder where his mortgage payments are going to come from and the landlord is going to wonder how he is going to meet his loan payments when the State won't let him collect rent. Presidential politics just isn't likely to fix much of anything for the ordinary person.

But God can, if you take some time out and seek his face and turn from the things in this nation that we know he hates, but that in our stubbornness and rebellion we have done anyway. If we seek and turn away from those things, he will very likely hear. But we have to be determined to seek him and be fully willing to make fundamental changes in our lives in order to obtain his mercy and his help in time of need.

It is my hope that this country and world has not gone so far as to come to a place where the Lord says...

I also will choose their delusions,
and will bring their fears upon them;
because when I called, none did answer;
when I spake, they did not hear:
but they did that which was evil in mine eyes,
and chose that wherein I delighted not.
(Isa 66:4 ASV)

Let us not count too much on God's forbearance. There comes a time when he really does get totally fed up with the wickedness of men.

Therefore pray not thou for this people,
neither lift up cry nor prayer for them;
for I will not hear them in the time that
they cry unto me because of their trouble.
(Jer 11:14 ASV)

I don't think we as a people are quite that spiritually 'gone' yet - but let us take heed... can happen.

But God is merciful and does want people to change and do right. I don't think the situation is hopeless. But let us work to make sure it never gets to be that way.

But Job I think is particularly meant for saints who have to suffer when sin has nothing to do with our sufferings, as with Job. So whatever you are or may be facing, let us try and remember Job and his patience under a very severe trial and how God's purpose was never fully revealed to Job. He stood firm even through all of the trials and tribulations the devil threw at him - he kept his faith. God later turned around and blessed him twice as much as before.

Now on to Job.

Job Part XIX

Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
 How long wilt thou speak these things?
And how long shall the words of thy mouth
 be like a mighty wind?
(Job 8:1-2 ASV)

Since we have already talked about who these three friends are and where they are from, I won't do that here today, other than to say that Bildad almost certainly a descendant of Abraham by his wife Keturah (1Chr 1:32) and probably dwelt in or near Arabia. Others think the location may have been located further north, associated with the city of Suhu, which is not far from Modern Day Fallujah. But the truth is, we just don't know for sure.

He starts off with a sharp rebuke of Job. Not a single word of comfort, kindness or mercy is shown to Job and his terrible plight. He attacks Job with the first words out of his mouth. You know what Bildad is calling Job? A wind bag, full of hot air. Clearly he did not like anything Job had to say and made it clear with this introductory statement. Jobs words were like that wind - violent and empty.

Doth God pervert justice?
 Or doth the Almighty pervert righteousness?
If thy children have sinned against him,
And he hath delivered them into the hand of their transgression;
If thou wouldest seek diligently unto God,
And make thy supplication to the Almighty;
If thou wert pure and upright:
Surely now he would awake for thee,
And make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.
And though thy beginning was small,
Yet thy latter end would greatly increase.
(Job 8:3-7 ASV)

Bildad continues on with his words making note that God does not pervert Justice, as he thinks Job's words seem to imply. Then he hits Job below the belt, referring to the loss of his children who were all killed in an attack (a satanically inspired attack, I might add) by bands of marauders. Job was feeling not just the pain of his illness but the loss of his children. Bildad is doing something here that God forbids Christians to do. He passing judgment on Job and his children, not directly but by insinuation. The whole thought behind the passage here is that Bildad insinuates that Job's children deserved their fate and that these things happened to Job because he was neither pure nor upright and that he was not diligent enough in his prayer and devotional life.
Moreover he thinks that if Job would just pray more and seek God, the Lord would set things right.

Again, this is one of the major problems today with simplistic Christianity. Bildad is using a set formula on how God will act if we do this or that. Sin and we are judged, pray and God will restore. Bildad had what I like to call the 'God in a Box' syndrome. They want God to live in a box and do and react only within the confines of the theological box mankind creates for God. They have 'God all figured out' and have full understanding the ways of the Lord... they think!!

What Bildad was showing was three things: One was his theological arrogance, two his lack of mercy for his friend who was in pain and need, and three, his ignorance, for he had no idea that it was because Job was upright in God's eyes that these things happened to him, not because of his sins. This fact was obscured from Bildad and it did not fit in with the 'box' he had created for God to live and operate in. So he offered Job ages-old spiritual homilies that are often good, but did not fit Job's situation, the totality of which, again was obscured from Bildad.
Verse seven then shows how God will prosper a person who follows after Bildad's theological view. 'Do these things and God will prosper you', is the meaning. Bildad is correct, but this does not preclude that God can and does test those whom he loves.
Let's make this clear. Bildad was not necessarily wrong, he was just unmerciful and incomplete in his understanding. The essence of what he says is correct, but only as far as it goes. What is rather interesting in this verse is that it is almost a prophecy of what will come to pass with Job when is trials are done. Yes, God did indeed prosper Job in the end.

For inquire, I pray thee, of the former age,
And apply thyself to that which their fathers
have searched out (For we are but of yesterday,
and know nothing, Because our days upon earth are a shadow);
Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee,
And utter words out of their heart?
Can the rush grow up without mire?
Can the flag grow without water?
Whilst it is yet in its greenness, and not cut down,
It withereth before any other herb.
So are the paths of all that forget God;
And the hope of the godless man shall perish:
Whose confidence shall break in sunder,
And whose trust is a spider's web.
(Job 8:8-14 ASV)

Bildad asks Job to refer back to the past, to the fathers and their wisdom. The phrase here former ages are these two words combined (H7223 and H1755.
Adam Clarke see's this as a reference to the most remote of ages way back to the first generation of men. Bildad wanted Job to go back and remember the wisdom of the ages and apply that to his words. He continues to exhort Job to remember that our lives are very short and that he should go back and learn what the ancients learned. All of this was assuming the Job was unstudied in their wisdom as Bildad clearly makes out ('shall they not teach thee?'). Then Bildad looks at nature. Can the rush (papyrus H1573) grow without a swamp (mire). Can the flag (marsh - H260) grow without water? They are cut down, just like those who forget God. The not so subtle inference seems to be.... 'now... look at you sitting there on a pile of ashes will all your belongings and kids gone with leprosy all over your body', indicating Job had forgotten God.

We shall continue Bildad's words in the next update to Job, God willing!!

22 Oct

Job Part XVIII

What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him,
And that thou shouldest set thy mind upon him,
And that thou shouldest visit him every morning,
And try him every moment?
(Job 7:17-18 ASV)

Job continues his complaint. Here he asks why God should pay any attention to us and elevate us the way he does. What makes us so important that God even bothers with us? Job asks one of life's perennial questions. What are we that makes us so valuable in God's eyes? This is indeed one of the deeper philosophical and spiritual questions of the ages. What is man and why does God bother with him? The Greeks struggled with this question as well. Here is how one commentary sums this up - (see comment to vs 17).
Why does God exalt men to kingship and offer him salvation? What good are we? - would be one way to look at this question if it were being asked today. The Deists, of which Thomas Jefferson was one, thought that God made the universe and went away to attend to other matters. So Job's complaint is a question that has been asked in various forms throughout the ages by many a wise man. Job's main concern is a little less to do with deep philosophical questions than the simple fact that he wishes God would stop bothering him with all of the affliction he has had to deal with. We note here that Job, not knowing that Satan was the source of his troubles, incorrectly and indirectly attributes his tribulations to God.

How long wilt thou not look away from me,
Nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?
(Job 7:19 ASV)

Job here is looking for a moment of rest from all of his travails. The phrase 'till I swallow my own spittle' should be looked upon as a parable that refers to a minimum amount of time - the time it takes to swallow. Some commentators render it 'till I draw my breath'. The spittle reference was used in the Arab world as a proverb for many centuries after this (Barnes).

If I have sinned, what do I unto thee,
O thou watcher of men?
Why hast thou set me as a mark for thee,
So that I am a burden to myself?
And why dost thou not pardon my transgression,
and take away mine iniquity?
For now shall I lie down in the dust;
And thou wilt seek me diligently,
but I shall not be.
(Job 7:20-21 ASV)

This thought here appears to be a continuation of the previous one. Why does God bother with us? 'OK, I sinned who doesn't and why single me out?' This seems to be the thought here. 'Whatever I did could not be so bad as to deserve this!" If I had to paraphrase the thought, that is what I think Job is trying to convey here. 'How have I hurt or offended you that this is the result?'

Job's own life was a burden to himself. Life had become more trouble than it was worth. Some commentators may be hard on Job for taking such a dim view of his sufferings, but until they have walked a few months in Job's shoes and sat outside in the ash heap, scraping their sores with broken pottery, with three miserable comforters to harangue you, shocked with nightmares and riddled with pain at night, we should reserve judgment.

But that Job is ready to confess his sins is a testament to his character. Later we will see his so called friends basically think he is self-righteous and is too proud to confess his faults. But this passage shows this not to be the case, Job was willing to do so, he just was not going to confess to crimes and evils for which he was not guilty.

Job asks for forgiveness, showing he is neither self righteous nor ignorant of his own inner sinfulness. Job just wants God to forgive him, whatever his faults. The second part verse 21  should not be ignored either, Job's sufferings were pretty severe and his health as we have can surmise, was failing. It is not all clear that he thought he would recover from his pains. Thus Job makes it clear that he wants forgiveness before he goes and moreover, God's chastisement (as Job incorrectly see's God as the source) was so severe that it could mean his death.

He seems to also be subtlety reminding God that he may not be here much longer if this continues.

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

20 Oct

Persecution Watch

While Americans and the world are watching the election theatrics, Persecution continues.

In Laos, Christians are reportedly being driven from their homes for their faith. The ICC has the story. It's called, "Christians in Laos Driven Out from Homes for Refusing to Renounce Faith". But the assault on the Church continues in India. In another story out of Morning Star News, it talks about an attack on a father and son where the father apparently had permanent hearing loss, according to the story. It's called, "Christian’s Hearing Damaged in ‘Reconversion’ Attacks in India".
Also in India from Morning Star News comes a story about a beating in Eastern India where the victim was tonsured and paraded. The story is called, "Beaten Christians Tonsured, Paraded in India". Also in India is a story about Christian families who refused to recant their faith, and what happened to them. The story is called, "Ten Christian Families in India Mercilessly Beaten by Radicals", and it's from the ICC.
The site has some stories on conditions in India.

Finally on India is one on a Christian martyr written by the ICC on being faithful unto death.

I don't want to just pick on India, but there does seem to be a growing pattern in this important and geopolitically significant nation.
In news a little closer to home, in California Catholics are praying about a destroyed Statue of a Saint in San Rafel, California. Catholic World Report has the story. It was destroyed, according to the story, in riots. Attacks on places of worship in the US? It's not unheard of. In fact one story out of talks about this issue and how some are trying to get it addressed. The story is called "Mainstream press ignores church vandalism, but can't get enough of ACB's faith" and should be searchable.

The Epoch Times has a story about the Vatican's Deal with the Communist Party of China and it talks of the current review of that deal that is under way, search on "Vatican Weighs China Deal, Raising Concerns..." and you should find it or something similar.
Let us not forget to keep our persecuted brethren and sisters in prayer.

Brother Mark

16 Oct

Job Part XVII

Is there not a warfare to man upon earth?
And are not his days like the days of a hireling?
As a servant that earnestly desireth the shadow,
And as a hireling that looketh for his wages:
So am I made to possess months of misery,
And wearisome nights are appointed to me.
(Job 7:1-3 ASV)

The first stanza of the first verse is rather interesting in that the word for man is this one H6635 and it has the connotation of people organized for war like a band of troops.

Job's metaphor is that of a hired man or a hired solder who is set to work or fight for a set period of time and naturally ends his service when his time is up. So Job justifies his desire to die by basically saying, its natural, no one stays here forever anyway. Verse two uses the metaphor of a slave looking for a shadow. This means basically that a slave working all day in the hot sun earnestly desires shade for relief from his labor.  The word for earnestly desire means to covet or to pant after. It is something greatly to be desired. So Job expresses his desire to end his days. The slave has to work and toil all day in the heat and job has to deal with the loss of all and all this physical pain. The hireling get shade and Job seeks to end his days - this is how I read the passage. He is not getting that relief in his sleep as we shall see in the following passages.

Verse three Job goes on to describe his suffering. This has been going on for months now and clearly despair has set into Job's soul. It was not just the days, but the nights Job had to endure, almost certainly in considerable pain.

When I lie down,
I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone?
 And I am full of tossings to and fro
unto the dawning of the day.
My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust;
 My skin closeth up, and breaketh out afresh.
My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle,
And are spent without hope.
Oh remember that my life is a breath:
Mine eye shall no more see good.
The eye of him that seeth me shall behold me no more;
Thine eyes shall be upon me, but I shall not be.
As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away,
 So he that goeth down to Sheol
shall come up no more.
(Job 7:4-9 ASV)

Herein lies one of the biggest fallacies of the prosperity preachers, that God does not allow sickness or suffering into our lives and that it is not often divinely appointed. Job was a perfect man in God's eyes, yet for his own purposes, he allowed these things in Job's life.

Brothers, we must shy away from the selfish and simplistic doctrines that are preached today. God is sovereign and he can and does allow sickness into our lives. Paul was sick and many scholars think he had some kind of eye disease. We don't know exactly what Paul's thorn was, but it was something that caused him trouble. So let's dispense with the kinds of theology that permeates our world today, it is basically a variation on a theme of Job's miserable comforters.

Job says his days are without hope. This is a terrible state of mind, to be without hope. You know, one of the most terrible punishments I think God put upon the angels that left their first estate and the men who rebel against God and follow the fallen  angels to the place of perdition is this - they have no hope... forever. There is nothing they can ever say or do to give them any hope whatever. That is a horrible fate, to have no hope. In this life suffering can be ended by the hope of death, which is what Job is seeking. But perdition, and eternal separation from God and a permanent place of pain and suffering with no hope? Brothers that is a terrible, terrible thing to contemplate. And to understand that your fate has not only been allowed by God, but eternally ordained by him.

A person who has truly suffered for extended periods of time, they have a glimpse of this. A person who has been crippled or horribly disfigured and cannot be fully restored? They understand this idea, if somewhat vaguely, of no hope. I don't think we should make light of that statement in Job's case; he understands this, but has put his hope and faith in God.

He shall return no more to his house,
Neither shall his place know him any more.
Therefore I will not refrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
Am I a sea, or a sea-monster,
That thou settest a watch over me?
When I say, My bed shall comfort me,
My couch shall ease my complaint;
Then thou scarest me with dreams,
And terrifiest me through visions:
So that my soul chooseth strangling,
And death rather than these my bones.
I loathe my life; I would not live alway:
Let me alone; for my days are vanity.
(Job 7:10-16 ASV)

The sense in the verse 12 is that the sea is a wild and uncontrollable force and that God is treating Job as though he were the same. Job could not even get a good nights sleep because of nightmares. He was hating life. Job also, according to the way many choose to interpret verse 15, was having trouble breathing.

Job then asks God to leave him alone, The passage in verse 16 does not appear to be addressed to his friends but to God, but the connotation is not the 'get lost' kind of leave me alone, but, please stop afflicting me. This is the sense that is meant here.

We will continue with Job next week, God willing!!

14 Oct

Election Ruminations

Note: As you all know, I don't get into partisan politics here. But I am a keen observer of our political system. I am deeply concerned about where it is heading for many reasons. Many of those reasons are in our headlines today. Others have been in the investigative reports done by those who 'follow the money' in our political system. This piece is written because of that concern and while it is not likely many will agree with this, I think it important that those who can rise above the banter and madness of this current political hour and get some key takeaways from what follows.

I want to talk about today is a subject that may get some of you scratching your head a bit as to where I am coming from. Before you do that really consider carefully what I am saying because I suspect that if the country cannot get its collective act together particularly politically and economically - what I say here will be something that you will recall a few years after major social chaos ensues. I am not predicting that level of chaos is going to happen after this election, but I think is inevitable, eventually if again, Americans cannot get their act together.

I am a strong believer in Democracy. Always have been and remain so with one caveat. People have to be somewhat reasonable, basically moral, moderately intelligent for it to work. If these things are not present, Democracy descends into mob rule to be followed by dictatorship and all of horrors that go with that - labor camps, summary executions, confiscation of property. police state.... all of that.

You know, when the founders of America formed this government they were a little afraid of democracy. Such an experiment that we have here had never been tried before. The American revolution was revolutionary on a number of fronts. Not just politically - severing the nation from England, but more importantly, ideologically as well. You see, I think the founders were afraid. They were afraid of mob rule, that too much democracy would overthrow the existing social order and they did not want to 'break America' before she was really born. The Electoral College? Many see it as an anachronism, but what it was and is, is a 'check' on raw democracy. Americans do not directly elect the President and this is by design. I suppose the best way to put it is that it was designed to put a serious check on the 'primordial instincts' of the mob to break and tear up things in a fit of popular anger or greed for the rich guys money or land. The college I think has worked remarkably well. It respects the will of the people, but does provide one critical fail-safe against the worst of the worst getting political power; playing upon the fears and or ignorance of the poor, uneducated or gullible.

Just keep in mind that these failsafe's were there because no one had ever really tried a government like this before. A secular government of, for and by the people with no monarchy? In the 1700's this was pretty much unheard of. The European leaders of those days must have thought America's politicians were on some new form of opium to think it was really going to work! But the founders wanted it to work and worked hard to make it work. And work it did - marvelously and beyond anyone's wildest dreams! Men were able to build, create, work and actually keep most of their wealth! Remember, at first there was no 'income tax' in America. That came much later. At first the country was financed largely through tariffs.

But this is what happens when you let people keep what they earn, build and create. They have a real incentive and so they do just that. That is why America became such an engine of creativity, trade and all kinds of commerce. The King's tax collector was not hanging about ready to take not just his share, but even the tools a person needed to get his work done, as it was in many parts of Europe when the king needed money for a new war or to build some great manor.

But I think the founders were also afraid of wealth extraction by the people. I think they were afraid that if they gave every person a right to vote they could vote to take property away from those who had and give to those who had not and government would only turn into one great wealth transference engine. Now to the poor man, that sounds good until one figures out that when you steal a man's wealth you steal his incentive to work. Why bother if what you earn will be stolen? Why earn money if someone is going to tax or steal it from you? This goes to the age old question of inducement to labor. How do you do it - with a carrot or a stick? Money or a pair of shackles on ones feet? It's a question that has not been totally resolved today, what with the rise of various kinds of slavery today. When I say that the founders had this fear, it was enshrined in the original constitution. There was once a property requirement in order to vote. Indeed there has been a long and mostly positive march for voting rights in this country since then. Wikipedia has a decent page on the the various laws here. What were those requirements? You can find them here (in the background section).

I think the founders were wise in their caution. It may not have been necessary, but I think they wanted to see this new form of government work and doing too much too fast - giving people ordinary people these kinds of rights - they may have felt the country was not ready for it, but that is just my view. Those of you more well versed in the Federalist papers may have a more informed view.

But I will give you some of my impressions on the results of the many changes that have taken place since the inception of the country when it comes to citizen participation in government. These are just my own personal views and if it is written with a bit of a sarcastic and tongue in cheek style, I beg your forbearance.

The Bible makes no mention of democracy. It was not really known in those days. The Greeks are largely credited with inventing it and by then, much of the OT was written. So this love of democracy or rather this respect for it emanates from man's desire to be free of tyranny of any sort and history has shown that kings can often be just that. If Kings were always good and really looked out for their citizens, Democracy would never have been needed, nor so hardly and at times violently sought after. Men crave good government. How and who decides who runs that government was given to the people in our form of government.

But my view is that frankly we have too many people voting, too many people who should not be voting, voting. Yes, they may be today legally allowed to vote, but I am of a somewhat less liberal nature when it comes to rights, privileges and responsibilities of voting. I don't think drug addicts should be anywhere near a polling place. I don't think convicted felons should be voting until a long period has elapsed with no more serious criminal convictions on their records. I don't think people under the age of 25 should be allowed to vote in Federal elections. As heretical and antediluvian as it may sound, I don't think some kind of property requirement is totally out of bounds for a voting requirement. I think those who are allowed to vote should have a vested interest not just political but also economic interest (hard assets) in the country. A person who has nothing and has done nothing to earn wealth should not (in my view) have the same rights as person who has that kind of interest. I think this goes to the whole issue we are hearing today about 'economic justice'; those who have not are, as some people believe, trying to 'steal' from those who have. Look at what California is thinking about doing with it's 'wealth tax'. Do your own search on it and you can see how the whole idea of 'economic justice' will morph. The poor will outnumber the rich and then they could vote their wealth into their hands. Sure, it sounds good until you realize that no one is going to bother building wealth (or employing people) if the state is just going to turn right around and take it.

As I watch the non-debate about issues facing the country - like our deficits and obscene defense spending and the deep seated problems that exist in that system I can only say with sorrow that as long as this nation refuses to face real issues, its voters can be swayed with some of the most false, misleading and intellectually vacuous news and arguments - our days as a democracy are numbered. What is happening in our streets today with the protests is merely a foretaste the consequences of years of political drivel slipping out of the sides of political mouths that may get people elected, but does not protect the country, her political system or fix the nation's very serious fiscal and growing geopolitical problems. Too many American voters are swayed by hate, ignorance and stupidity and not by sound arguments or intelligent proposals or policy. My view is that we cannot continue in our current political trajectory without very serious violence, political inertia or even some kind of military or oligarchic coup. Powerful forces will do what they can to keep the 'goose that lays the golden dollar' alive - even if that means voting is done away with. Yes, I mean some kind of fundamental change in government - not in favor of the average Joe.

I am not saying this is going to happen for sure or when, only that our trajectory seems to be running very quickly along those lines. I could go on and on about the causes of our political descent - Social Media - propaganda, foreign influence, an educational system more interested in indoctrination than education and the lack of that most important trait of higher more intelligent minds - critical thinking (too often called 'conspiracy theory'). Critical thinking is something that is unique to man. Your dog can't do it, neither can your goldfish.  Americans must deal with their inability to step back examine all the facts (key word here), unemotionally and critically think for themselves. It is becoming a lost art in a nation full of Social Media echo chamber addicts.

I see voting as both a right and a privilege. I would like to see the right be more easily taken away based on solid criteria mostly based on behavior and some kind of real stake in the country. Yes, that is heresy in today's hyper politically correct environment, but that is my view. Are you a jailbird running in and out of county jail  every few months? I am not so sure you should be voting. Are you high on meth? Perhaps voting is something you should not be doing. Child support payments three years in arrears and are you hiding from your ex's lawyers? Sorry, voting should be off the table for you - show some personal responsibility before you help decide who will run the country. Do you firmly believe that the Democrat, Donald Trump is the challenger to the GOP incumbent Joe Biden? Perhaps you should get a clue before you show up at the polls. Someone that misinformed should not be taking on the responsibility of voting.

Sure I realize the enormous issues that the country would face if we started to do these things and the administrative, legal and social issues it would cause. I am not ignorant of them. But I would say this. One day, we are going to have a political crisis in this country. One that I don't think millions of Americans are emotionally equipped to deal with without resorting to very serious violence - not in today's incendiary political environment.

What If...

What if one day in say 2028 we have an election and the country is forced to go to a contingent election. What if some states don't accept the choice of Congress and we get a President who is of the opposing party who winds up as President than the popular vote indicated? What if that President, after several billions in property damage through political violence, three states threatening to leave the union unilaterally, foreign agitators setting fire to critical infrastructure (telecommunications, water, electricity, etc); the President who was not even duly and freely elected is forced to declare martial law and call out the troops. At first they balk citing legal and constitutional issues. Then several military bases are attacked by armed militants posing as protestors. The military then is forced to move to protect its interests. Meanwhile Congress wrangles talks and does next to nothing. The Republic is in serious trouble. Suddenly the markets begin to react to the chaos and the markets begin to crash and America has serious trouble raising money to pay her bills, which is financed mostly by issuing debt.

Powerful forces who have long held considerable power from behind the scenes realize that it is time to put in plan X (no such actual plan is known to this author). Plan X is a (theoretical) temporary remake of the American government. It puts key people in charge of just about everything and during this 'transition period' a new constitution and form of government is put forward. One that severely limits the rights that Americans. The right to vote will be restored 'at a some future date'. Public assembly is forbidden if it has more than 5. Ominously and inexplicably people start disappearing. No one knows what happened to them. But there are whispers...

I am not saying this is going to happen. What I am saying is that if we Americans don't do this democracy thing right and begin to respect it enough to accept results, take a loss with grace instead of a Molotov cocktail thrown into a police station window, it may be a generation or two before you see anything like our system of government ever again if it ever comes to that.

I think one way to save democracy is to limit it - fairly, equitably but do limit it and make it less a right and more a privilege. Yes a right that one gets by birth but can be easily lost by bad behavior and patterns of serious irresponsibility.

I fully admit none of these changes are possible now. The doctrines of political correctness will never allow anyone to even propose such things without being shouted down by the mob. But I suspect that if we don't get better control of our voting, who gets to and ensure that only those who are by law allowed to, as well as make sure that all the votes are counted properly - our democratic system will continue its descent and I don't think it is going to be a slow one. People must believe the system is fair if it is to work and in order for it to work, those who vote must be responsible, intelligent and honest citizens. I think the obsession with getting as many people on to the voting rolls as possible in some search for inclusiveness and 'fairnness' has downplayed the need for these other weightier aspects of voting.

I know my views are 'heretical' and certainly not PC. But I would rather see some of these kinds of changes made than see the national political system continue to display the kind of characteristics that it is already showing - rights without responsibility; lack of a sense of patriotism, violence in the streets. We must get people to understand the need for everyone to do their part and yes at times make sacrifices. I mean, think of the reaction to ideas like National Service we get with this selfish 'me-first' generation. When WWII started, the recruiters offices were filled with people signing up. Today, they are more likely to have a protest outside their offices or have someone throwing a rock in their window should a war transpire.

I realize these views are not going to be popular. That's good, for today what passes for popular is too often little more than a commonly agreed upon falsehood that tries to keep everyone happy without looking seriously at the underlying issues. Why do we keep getting leaders who won't deal with our $26 Trillion in deficits? I will tell you. It's not popular to deal with them and it never will be as long as our elections are run the way they are. This is why I just see this major crisis coming that when it comes will turn this country upside down, perhaps as bad as it was during the Civil War. I hope not, but given today's political environment and the political street armies that are showing up across the nation creating havoc and the megaphones of social media madness to guide them, such a prospect can not wisely be discounted.

I hope I have not shocked anyone here with my views. But I would rather see us fix our democracy before it breaks because once it does, all bets are off and what will follow will probably please no one, least of all those who were shouting 'burn it down' now in a fit of ill informed political rage.

Finally, I want to talk just a minute about Contingent elections. Some of you may have heard of it before. If there is no clear winner after election night and all the votes are counted. America will have a contingent election. I don't think that this will happen, but given some of the legal challenges that may occur and other disputes and political jockeying that are not wholly impossible, we cannot be sure it won't. So what is a contingent election? This from the CRS.
The 12th Amendment to the Constitution requires that presidential and vice presidential candidates gain “a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed” in order to win election. With a total of 538 electors representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia, 270 electoral votes is the “magic number,” the arithmetic majority necessary to win the presidency.

What would happen if no candidate won a majority of electoral votes? In these circumstances, the 12th Amendment also provides that the House of Representatives would elect the President, and the Senate would elect the Vice President, in a procedure known as “contingent election.” Contingent election has been implemented twice in the nation’s history under the 12th Amendment: first, to elect the President in 1825, and second, the Vice President in 1837.

In a contingent election, the House would choose among the three candidates who received the most electoral votes. Each state, regardless of population, casts a single vote for President in a contingent election. Representatives of states with two or more Representatives would therefore need to conduct an internal poll within their state delegation to decide which candidate would receive the state’s single vote. A majority of state votes, 26 or more, is required to elect, and the House must vote “immediately” and “by ballot.” Additional precedents exist from 1825, but they would not be binding on the House in a contemporary election. In a contingent election, the Senate elects the Vice President, choosing one of the two candidates who received the most electoral votes. Each Senator casts a single vote, and the votes of a majority of the whole Senate, 51 or more, are necessary to elect. The District of Columbia, which is not a state, would not participate in a contingent election, despite the fact that it casts three electoral votes.

Although contingent election has been implemented only once each for President and Vice President since the 12th Amendment was ratified, the failure to win an electoral college majority is a potential outcome in any presidential election. Some examples include an election closely contested by two major candidates, one in which one or more third-party or independent candidacies might win a portion of the electoral vote, or one involving defections by a significant number of so-called “faithless” electors.

A contingent election would be conducted by a newly elected Congress, immediately following the joint congressional session that counts and certifies electoral votes. This session is set by law for January 6 of the year following the presidential election, but is occasionally rescheduled. If the House is unable to elect a President by the January 20 inauguration day, the 20th Amendment provides that the Vice President-elect would act as President until the impasse is resolved. If neither a President nor Vice President has been chosen by inauguration day, the Presidential Succession Act applies, under which the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President pro tempore of the Senate, or a Cabinet officer, in that order, would act as President until a President or Vice President qualifies.

A contingent election would require Congress to consider and discharge functions of great constitutional significance, which could be complicated by a protracted and contentious political struggle that might stem from an electoral college deadlock. This report provides an examination of constitutional requirements and historical precedents associated with contingent election. It also identifies and evaluates contemporary issues that might emerge in the modern context. - Contingent Election of the President and Vice President by Congress: Perspectives and Contemporary Analysis

So what does that mean? It means that even though the House is controlled by the Democrats, the Republicans I believe actually control a State-majority by virtue of their control of 26 States. In other words, regardless of the number of representatives from each state or the population of each state, it is only going to get one vote. Right now Democrats control 22 and the rest are split. But it seems that according to this piece from the CRS (I am no lawyer or constitutional scholar) the new (not yet elected) Congress would actually do the voting.

What that means is that if there is a contested election, Trump could still win in the House. What happens if even that failsafe fails? Then the the next President goes in line of succession.

The Presidential Succession Act of 1947

Congress implemented the authority provided in Section 3 of the 20th Amendment when it passed the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, a major overhaul of presidential succession procedures. The act, which remains in effect, provides that
the Speaker of the House would act as President during situations in which neither a President nor Vice President has qualified, and would continue to do so until the situation is resolved or the term of office expires. If there is no Speaker, or if the Speaker does not qualify, then the President pro tempore of the Senate acts as President. Before being sworn as “acting” President, either officer would be required to resign their leadership offices and membership in their respective chambers. If both the Speaker and President pro tempore were to decline the office, or fail to qualify for any reason, then the acting presidency would devolve on the head of the most senior executive department, provided that officer is constitutionally qualified, has been regularly nominated by the President, and has been confirmed by the Senate. According to the act, by taking the oath of office to act as President, a Cabinet officer would automatically vacate the Cabinet position, thus avoiding the constitutional prohibition against dual office holding.

Both the Succession Act and the 20th Amendment specifically limit the service of a person acting as President under such circumstances: he or she holds office only until either a President or Vice President has qualified. - Contingent Election of the President and Vice President by Congress: Perspectives and Contemporary Analysis

I cannot predict what will happen after election day. I have no idea and I suspect in some states we may have to wait a few days for all of the ballots to be recovered from dumpsters counted.

I ask all of you who serve the Lord to cease with all of this political hate and anger. It has no place in your life and you are giving a very bad witness to our faith with it. Rather let us keep a wise head with a few but carefully weighed words and remember these wise words from yesteryear when looking at any potential crisis or chaos...

...and this too shall pass.

Let us not lose our sense of humor. It's a great 'safety valve' in difficult times.

God bless you all in Christ.

For your careful reflection,

Brother Mark

8 Oct

Job Part XVI

Teach me, and I will hold my peace;
And cause me to understand wherein I have erred.
How forcible are words of uprightness!
But your reproof, what doth it reprove?
Do ye think to reprove words,
Seeing that the speeches of one that is desperate
are as wind?
(Job 6:24-26 ASV)

Last time we left off Job was continuing his speech to Eliphaz who was convinced Job was in sin and needed to come clean. Job was saddened by the attitude of his false comforters and maintains his innocence. Here Job asks his 'friends' to show him where he made this great error they are accusing him of? He won't interrupt their testimony against him, 'if any has a charge against me, speak up' is what he seems to be saying. Their statements would have great effect on him if they were right,  but so far they haven't said anything of value other than to accuse him.

Verse 26 presents a few problems in translation. One old translator renders verse 26 thusly,

Do ye mean to censure words?
The words of a man in despair are but wind
(Noyes via Barnes Notes on the Bible).

Job is complaining that they are just carping at mere words, just looking for a reason to accuse Job, perhaps to protect their own limited theological understanding.

Yea, ye would cast lots upon the fatherless,
And make merchandise of your friend.
Now therefore be pleased to look upon me;
For surely I shall not lie to your face.
(Job 6:27-28 ASV)

They are twisting his words in order to make him out to be some kind of wicked man.

Job is pretty upset by these wild accusations against his character. He goes on to say that these fake buddies are like a man who hunts is friend like a wild animal or would throw  dice on the life of an orphan. He see's their accusations, given his current state of suffering, as being just that cruel.

Brothers, I know exactly how Job felt here. Certainly not the level of human suffering part but certainly the railing accusations of a false friend. Job here uses this metaphor because he is deeply wounded by these so called friends who come not to pull the knife out of Job's side, but seemingly to twist it in a little deeper.

Return, I pray you, let there be no injustice;
Yea, return again, my cause is righteous.
Is there injustice on my tongue?
Cannot my taste discern mischievous things?
(Job 6:29-30 ASV)

Job wants to continue the discussion and reconsider the arguments, his reputation is at stake, the phrase my righteousness is in it means my cause is righteous and denies any wrongdoing.  Job goes on to argue that he is honest and he does not speak lies. Lies in the last stanza are like a bad taste in Job's mouth, he will not utter them. Thus, he makes his plea to his friends that what he says is true - there is no serious crime or evil in Job's life.

Job Chapter 7 is more of Job's complaints and next week, the Good Lord willing, we will look at it.



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