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
  22 Oct
MARKSWATSON.COM
Watson's Web
Biblical Perspective For Our Times



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


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


Mark can be reached
here.


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 Persecutionrelief.org 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 Religionunplugged.com 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 'Joe and Jane Sixpack'.

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 a 'get you next time smile' 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.


6 Oct

Persecution/Human Rights/Humanitarian Watch

Today, I am going to leave off the American 'tragicomedy theater of pandering and politics' and look at some issues that are of grave concern to those who are effected by them. We will talk just a moment about some I think key election issues towards the end.

Let's start off with South Sudan. We talked a bit about it last month looking at the food shortages.FEWS.net's has a map of food insecurity that can be accessed here.

The situation is not good and while the map shows a projection for improvement, flooding and fighting are a problem.
Armed conflict and insecurity persist in Jonglei, Warrap, and parts of Lakes and Central Equatoria, causing significant displacement, disrupting harvesting activities, market access, and food assistance delivery, and resulting in livestock losses. According to UN estimates, approximately 157,000 people across South Sudan have been displaced by conflict in 2020. In September, hot spots of conflict include Lainya and Juba counties of Central Equatoria, where nearly 40,000 people have been internally displaced since August. Overall, Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) and Tonj East of Warrap are areas of greatest concern, where active conflict and the threat of retaliatory violence extremely limit households’ ability to engage in productive livelihood activities. Severe flooding in GPAA is compounding these impacts by periodically restricting household movement and contributing to disruptions in food assistance delivery and trade flows. Key informants report that although some displaced persons returned to their place of origin in GPAA due to relative calm in September, flooding is preventing other households from returning.

More than 700,000 people in 34 counties have been affected by flooding. Nearly 90 percent of the flood-affected population is in Jonglei, Lakes, and Unity, particularly along the White Nile River. The river has reached record-high levels due to above-average rainfall locally and in upstream countries since late 2019. Based on partner field information, the most severely affected counties include Bor South, GPAA, Ayod, Twic East, and Duk of Jonglei; Mayendit, Panyijiar, Koch, and Leer of Unity; and Awerial, Cueibet, and Rumbek East of Lakes. Although households have moved to higher ground or displacement sites, floods are destroying newly harvested food stocks, damaging standing crops, and killing livestock. Households also face difficulty accessing markets or food assistance distribution points. Based on the scale of flooding at the start of the green harvest, coupled with conflict-related impacts, harvests in flood-affected areas are likely to be similar to or worse than 2019. According to FAO, total crop production in Jonglei is projected to be seven percent below 2019; however, county-level production is projected to be 20-40 percent below 2019 in Ayod, Twic East, Pibor, and Pochalla. - FEWS.net
The longer, whole text over there is quite informative and has some great links.

You can find some great stories on the we web and international aid organizations that give us some great background on the situation. It's pretty bad.

Then of course there is the situation in Yemen. I won't rehash what I have talked about here for many years but give you the link to the FEWS.net site that talks about the situation. The good news is that the currency situation seems to have stabilized. But like South Sudan, conflict and flooding are causing significant problems.

Primarily due to conflict and flooding, hundreds of thousands of people have been newly displaced to date in 2020. Between January 1 and August 8, 2020, the IOM has recorded over 110,000 displaced people. However, the IOM currently monitors only 13 of Yemen’s 22 governorates. As such, displacement figures are likely underestimates of total displacement, and trends should be interpreted with caution. - FEWS.net
This is one major issue I have with this President, his support for this war. I do fully understand the geopolitical reasons for doing so. I understand the need for America to stand by her friends in the region, of which KSA has long been one. But this war in my view is completely unnecessary as is the loss of life and while KSA may have some serious concerns with Iranian encroachment on its borders, this war has made the problem worse, not better in my estimation. They have reduced much of this country to rubble and what has it gotten them? More security or a bleeding wound both militarily and financially? Look at the Kingdom's finances. You will find many a story on her financial state all over the web from sites and news organization all over the world. This war just needs to stop, everyone will be better off.

FYI, Biden has said he will end US support for that war in Yemen, according to online news reporting. That would be good news indeed but the real question is - and redirect military aid/support/troops to.... where? Given the Obama administration's penchant for military misadventures (Ukraine/Libya/Syria) while Biden sat on the NSC, I am not encouraged by his statement.

It's time for the US to get out of the war and arms business and get into the peace, cooperation and aid business. There are a lot of hurting people out there. In fairness, the US does provide a great deal of aid to the suffering and hungry all over the world.

Food is a major issue all over the world. One place of note? North Korea where the state is now asking farms to get armed security to stop food theft (RFA.org).

Let's look at Nigeria for a moment. We have seen many attacks on Christians in the country these past several years and while a good portion of the violence we now see in this part of the world is religiously motivated, there are indeed other causes as well. Since the Fulani headsmen operate in the Sahel, they are under economic pressure. This part of the world has got some serious environmental problems. The main one is desertification. This is caused by a number of factors like over grazing and farming policies/practices. The Fulani live in this part of the world and you can find a great map over at Wikipedia that shows the Sahel and you can find another map included in the USCRIF's report on this part of the world in this link as to where the Fulani live.

So how much of the violence is religiously motivated and how much of it is due to economic concerns (cattle rustling, food stealing, etc)? This I think is a key question. In Nigeria, cattle rustlers are on the target list of government troops send into the region. The latest is called 'Operation Sahel Sanity' and it is designed to deal with the criminal element that has caused so much trouble here. So there are a myriad of problems here and we cannot and should not oversimplify issues that have complex causes.

This from the USCIRF.
Fulani and Religious Violence

In recent years, violence and insecurity have escalated in many countries with prominent Fulani populations. In several cases, this violence has involved Fulani communities, both as victims and as perpetrators. This trend is driven by a complex confluence of climate variability, population growth, arms proliferation, poor governance, intercommunal tensions, illicit economic activity, and inequitable distribution of services and resources. Violence by and against Fulani groups is escalating and feeding into broader cycles of retaliatory violence and revenge, increasing the risk of atrocities in countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cameroon, and CAR.

Experts and practitioners continue to debate the extent to which religious ideology plays a direct role in driving violence involving Fulani communities and individuals in west and central Africa. However, violence by and against Fulani groups is clearly aggravating religious tensions in countries like Nigeria and CAR. A 2019 USCIRF study found that narratives around the causes of violence involving Fulani communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt “are some of the most polarizing between religious communities.” Violence involving Fulani communities continues to exacerbate Muslim-Christian tensions in CAR, a country that has been experiencing ethno- religious violence for more than five years.

Fulani as Victims

Over the past several years, Fulani communities have frequently been victims of violence in west and central Africa. In Mali, attacks targeting Fulani in January, February, and May of this year killed 14, 31, and 43 civilians, respectively. Similar attacks on Fulani communities in neighboring Burkina Faso killed dozens of civilians in the first half of 2020. In Cameroon, at least 250 Fulani have been killed and 80,000 displaced since 2016, with Fulani communities reporting they have been victims of intimidation, kidnappings, assassinations, and theft by Ambazonian separatist fighters. In Nigeria, youth attacked a Fulani settlement in January, killing 23 people, with smaller attacks on Fulani in May and July each killing three civilians. The drivers of violence against Fulani communities are complex and multifaceted. Common drivers of this violence include intercommunal tensions, ethnic targeting, and escalating resource competition and land conflict. However, in a few instances, Fulani appear to have been targeted because of their religion or perceived religious affiliation.

In southern Kaduna state, Nigeria, Fulani have accused Christian militias of attacking them in an attempt to eliminate Muslims from the area. Fulani Muslims in CAR were some of the most affected victims of sectarian violence that broke out there in 2013. Fulani in CAR found themselves trapped in Muslim enclaves in various parts of the country for fear of facing violence if they ventured into areas controlled by predominantly Christian militias known as “anti-balaka.”

In some countries, Fulani civilians are targeted because they are perceived to be affiliated with Islamic extremism. In some parts of Nigeria, those seeking to incite violence against Fulani communities frequently employ claims that Fulani are “jihadist herdsmen” attempting to “Islamize” the country—it is important to note that these claims are difficult to verify due to the lack of reliable information from the region. In Burkina Faso, counterterrorism forces deployed to fight jihadist groups have reportedly specifically targeted Fulani communities, committing human rights abuses and summary executions against Fulani civilians.

Fulani as Perpetrators

Fulani individuals and militias have also been responsible for numerous incidents of violence against civilians in recent years. In Mali, the United Nations recorded that armed elements from Fulani communities were responsible for 47 attacks in the first half of 2020, claiming the lives of 162 civilians. In Nigeria, suspected Fulani gunmen staged an 11-day attack in Benue State in January 2018 that killed at least 80 people. In Cameroon, Fulani individuals were alleged to be the perpetrators of the Ngarbuh massacre that killed 22 people.

Once again, drivers of violence committed by Fulani- affiliated armed fighters are multidimensional, and the role that religious ideology plays in Fulani fighters’ motivations is highly debated. In some areas, Fulani militants have been accused of deliberately targeting Christians based on their beliefs. As previously discussed, Fulani militia violence is commonplace in CAR, where political, ethnic, and resource-based violence has taken on sectarian dimensions. In Nigeria’s Middle Belt, incidents of suspected Fulani militants burning churches and attacking predominantly Christian villages and Christian religious ceremonies have led to allegations that suspected Fulani fighters are committing genocide against Christians. - USCIRF

I will leave it there and you can read the rest of the Fact Sheet coming out of the USCIRF.

***

This is not related, but I have to say this. I have read many of all of the most hateful things being said about the President's illness by those on the left. Really... I am just amazed at the visceral hatred that exists out there. I have heard some extremist statements go so far as to hope the President dies.

I exhort all of you who name the name of the Lord - Let us all think positively and hopefully and put away all of this hate, ignorance and trying to grab a few extra webpage-views by saying something wholly wicked, improper and cruel just because the Lowest Common Denominator in American society loves to hear it. Stop listening to pastors, leaders, stars, politicians and other famous people who are fueling all of this hate - on either side of the aisle. They are not speaking for God and at times, not even for themselves, but may have been 'encouraged' (or even threatened) by politico's to say the things they are. Politics can indeed be a very, very nasty businesses.

Let none of us wish ill on another person - especially about politics. Because no matter who wins in November, the reality - the hard, cold reality is that not much is really going to change. We will still be trillions in debt, start new wars, sell high-tech arms to a dozen Kings of a dozen different violent and authoritarian nations, pass laws that make little real sense, but will score political points to narrow but affluent constituencies; we will still will be dealing with mass unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, out of control intelligence agencies and uncorrected political corruption.

You just are not going to change or fix these things by switching between the two political parties who brought us this mess in the first place.

We can do better than this but it seems that the Nation as a whole seems determined to make sure we don't.

Be careful what you wish on others, you may find that it comes right back on you in a significantly amplified and inescapable fashion.

Rather, let us pray for the President, his wife, the Speaker of the House and the Minority leader, the same for their correspondents in the Senate. All the SCOTUS justices, all of our State Governors and local leaders as well as all of the front line health workers. Let us pray for, and not against them.

I strongly suspect that God will be listening carefully and will surely mark down those who are praying imprecatory prayers and wishing evil on others based on the foolishness, lies and hate they read on some social media account.


Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein;
And he that rolleth a stone,
it shall return upon him.
(Pro 26:27 ASV)
Brothers and sisters.... put the hate away.

1 Oct

Job Part XV


Then Job answered and said,
Oh that my vexation were but weighed,
And all my calamity laid in the balances!
 For now it would be heavier than the sand of the seas:
Therefore have my words been rash.
For the arrows of the Almighty are within me,
The poison whereof my spirit drinketh up:
The terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.
(Job 6:1-4 ASV)

We begin the next section with Job's reply to Eliphaz. Job was clear about one thing. His sufferings are great and prevented him from answering Eliphaz' speech right away. using poetry, he tells him why he cannot answer and why his words are 'swallowed up' (the word 'rash' is H3886 and can also mean 'swallowed up'). God has struck him and done so hard and Job seems to be saying, 'open your eyes.... hey guy's... yoohoo... take a look... this ain't no picnic. I am suffering! This is Job's first response to Eliphaz's confident and somewhat superior sounding speech.

Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass?
Or loweth the ox over his fodder?
Can that which hath no savor be eaten without salt?
Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?
My soul refuseth to touch them;
They are as loathsome food to me.
(Job 6:5-7 ASV)

Job goes on to describe his sorrows and his want. Job would not be complaining now if there were not cause for it. These animals he describes are quiet when they have what they need. He would be too if things were OK with him. They weren't. Verse six is rather problematic and commentators are not agreed upon its meaning. But taken in conjunction with verse seven it may mean that he is now eating and using those things he would never have done before. In our vernacular we would use things like moldy bread and curdled milk... we would not eat these things, but Job now is forced to - this is Matthew Henry's view. But the passage I admit is obscure to me.

But Job's poetic similitude may be also referring to the counsel that Eliphaz gives and that in his state of current suffering, what he has offered is of no use to him.

 
Oh that I might have my request;
And that God would grant me the thing that I long for!
 Even that it would please God to crush me;
That he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!
 And be it still my consolation,
Yea, let me exult in pain that spareth not,
That I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
(Job 6:8-10 ASV)

Job here begins to utter things that are unwise. What is his request? That he might die and thus end his miseries. Remember, he even asked that he should have died in childbirth? Job knew the penalty for suicide and was not going to commit that sin, but rather he wanted God to come down and 'finish the job' that he, in Job's mind, had started. Job then goes on to say he has been a faithful witness of God to others and not hidden the knowledge of God.

 What is my strength, that I should wait?
And what is mine end, that I should be patient?
Is my strength the strength of stones?
Or is my flesh of brass?
 Is it not that I have no help in me,
And that wisdom is driven quite from me?
(Job 6:11-13 ASV)


Job as we can see is very depressed, near suicidal and asks what good is it all? What good is there in hanging about down here? He is not a stone or a piece of metal. The last verse where Job asks 'is not my help in me' is probably best not phrased as a question but perhaps is better rendered 'There is no help in me' which tracks along with the following stanza where he says that wisdom has been driven from him. In short, Job is perplexed as to why this has happened, his wisdom fails him.
 
To him that is ready to faint kindness
should be showed from his friend;
 Even to him that forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.
My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook,
 As the channel of brooks that pass away;
(Job 6:14-15 ASV)


Job reproves his 'friends' because they appear to have shown no pity, instead they start to pontificate and insinuate great sins in Job's life that are not present. Job's other friends and associates probably also began to pull away from him when they saw his calamities

Which are black by reason of the ice,
And wherein the snow hideth itself:
What time they wax warm, they vanish;
When it is hot, they are consumed out of their place.
The caravans that travel by the way of them turn aside;
They go up into the waste, and perish.
The caravans of Tema looked,
The companies of Sheba waited for them.
They were put to shame because they had hoped;
They came thither, and were confounded.
For now ye are nothing; Ye see a terror, and are afraid.
Did I say, Give unto me?
Or, Offer a present for me of your substance?
Or, Deliver me from the adversary's hand?
Or, Redeem me from the hand of the oppressors?
(Job 6:16-23 ASV)

Job goes on using poetry to describe false friends. To me, the poetry is obscure and difficult to follow, so I will rely on K&D commentary here.
Job compares his friends to the wady swollen by ice and snow water, and even to the travelling bands themselves languishing for water. He thirsts for friendly solace, but the seeming comfort which his friends utter is only as the scattered meandering waters in which the mountain brook leaks out. - K&D

He uses imagery of his day, perhaps military campaign of some sorts or perhaps a caravan who has their hopes dashed. It is not clear if these hopes were dashed because of the lack of water described in the previous verses or if the disappointment came in not finding each other to protect themselves from hostile bands of marauders. The passage seems to indicate the lack of water was the reason.

But what is clear is that like the stream that cannot be found and goes to nothing (Tohu H8414). Job says now they are as nothing as is their friendship. Job basically is calling them 'fair weather friends'. As soon as the heat of the sun arrives their kindness and affection disappear and evaporate, just like those streams. Such is the consolation they are giving him in his hour of need.

This is how you know your friends. When trouble comes, who is there to help and who is there to mock, laugh or rub salt into your wounds.
We will continue our look at Job next week, God willing.


29 Sept


The Fourth One

We have a hope and as I watch the rise of all of this high tech, the slow disintegration of democracy the rise of more authoritarian states and the rich men of the earth gaining more money, power and influence globally, I realize where this will eventually lead. How do I know? God warned us in the prophetic books he left for us.


I saw in the night-visions,
and, behold, there came with the
clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man,
and he came even to the ancient of days,
and they brought him near before him.
And there was given him dominion, and glory,
and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations,
 and languages should serve him: his dominion
is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
As for me, Daniel, my spirit was grieved in the
midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
I came near unto one of them that stood by,
and asked him the truth concerning all this.
So he told me, and made me know
the interpretation of the things.
These great beasts,

which are four, are four kings,
that shall arise out of the earth.
But the saints of the Most High
shall receive the kingdom,
and possess the kingdom for ever,
even for ever and ever.
(Dan 7:13-18 ASV)



This vision of the coming of the Messiah is one that follows the horrifying vision of the four beasts, particularly the fourth beast which was different from the others. Here is how Daniel put it.

After this I saw in the night-visions,
and, behold, a fourth beast, terrible and powerful,
and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth;
 it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped
the residue with its feet: and it was diverse
from all the beasts that were before it;
 and it had ten horns. I considered the horns,
 and, behold, there came up among them another horn,
a little one, before which three of the first horns were
plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn
were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth
speaking great things.
I beheld till thrones were placed,

 and one that was ancient of days did sit:
his raiment was white as snow, and the
hair of his head like pure wool; his throne
was fiery flames, and the wheels thereof
burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came
forth from before him: thousands of thousands
ministered unto him, and ten thousand times
ten thousand stood before him: the judgment
was set, and the books were opened.
I beheld at that time because of the voice
of the great words which the horn spake;
I beheld even till the beast was slain,
and its body destroyed, and it was given
to be burned with fire.
(Dan 7:7-11 ASV)

It is this fourth beast that we need to be keenly aware of, for it will as the passage makes clear, have the power to make war against the saints and prevail against us (Dan 7:21). So we ignore these prophecies at our own peril. This beast and the one we see in Rev 13 and clearly the same. The horn that speaks great things is seen in both. We see another king rising up among the 10 that speak great things and blasphemies against God (Dan 7:25). Again, not at all unlike that final system where the 10 king beast does the same thing (Rev 13:6). Rev 13:7 tell is how he will overcome the saints (prevail against us Dan 7:21).

The key here is to remember this. There is trouble that awaits the saints of God as this system comes into being. I do not see it as having come into being yet, not at least in full force as these 10 kings must do their work and destroy the Harlot in that prophetic hour I talked about recently.

Keep this in mind as well, this fourth beast is different from the others, it is not like the governments before it and it is given very great authority, one that encompasses the whole globe.

Thus he said,
The fourth beast shall be
a fourth kingdom upon earth,

which shall be diverse from all the kingdoms,
 and shall devour the whole earth,
and shall tread it down,
and break it in pieces.
(Dan 7:23 ASV)


Revelation tells us that this will last for 42 months or three and a half years or half a week in prophetic terms. I talked about that half a week recently (for insiders).

Each shows us that eventually this reign will be destroyed by the coming of the Son of Man. I note that in Dan 7:9, that thrones were placed. Who sits on these thrones is not clear. But they are indeed placed (not cast down as in 'overthrown' as the KJV implies). Some think this is some kind of celestial council who will sit in Judgment. This is possible, or it could refer to the setting up of God's kingdom on earth with the saints reigning as Kings and Priests (Matt 20:23; Rev 20:6). As Christ told his disciples, that they would drink the same cup he would drink. So we as Christ's people must also be ready to drink the cup God puts into our hands when that day comes.

I wanted to talk about these things because there is so much going on and so much chatter, opinion and disinformation our there. I wanted to get down to some prophetic basics. Another system is coming that will be unlike anything the world has ever seen. It will be global in nature and will be utterly blasphemous and satanic. We must not be afraid of it when it arrives but know its origin and ultimate fate of it and those that follow after it and worship its image. We must steady and steel ourselves accordingly.

24 Sept

Job Part XIV

Call now; is there any that will answer thee?
And to which of the holy ones wilt thou turn?
For vexation killeth the foolish man,
And jealousy slayeth the silly one.
I have seen the foolish taking root:
But suddenly I cursed his habitation.
His children are far from safety,
And they are crushed in the gate,
Neither is there any to deliver them:
Whose harvest the hungry eateth up,
And taketh it even out of the thorns;
And the snare gapeth for their substance.
(Job 5:1-5 ASV)

Eliphaz continues his speech which is laced with subtle and indirect accusations at Job. Who will Job turn to for a witness? Who is going to help him in his quest and question God's justice and wisdom? Then he says that wrath kills the simple man and the fool is cut off. His every word seems to say with all of this -  now, look at you... this is exactly what happens to the wicked... what secret sins are you hiding Job... confess!!!

Whose harvest the hungry eateth up,
 And taketh it even out of the thorns;
 And the snare gapeth for their substance.
For affliction cometh not forth from the dust,
Neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;
But man is born unto trouble, As the sparks fly upward.
But as for me, I would seek unto God,
And unto God would I commit my cause;
Who doeth great things and unsearchable,
Marvellous things without number:
(Job 5:5-9 ASV)


Eliphaz continues on with his speech basically saying that trouble comes for a reason and that if he were in Job's shoes he would seek unto God for vindication. Eliphaz's wisdom was that of the ancients, before the New Testament and probably long before the Old as well, so it must be looked upon in that light. Not that he is necessarily wrong, but his wisdom was woefully incomplete and later as we shall see, his insistence at accusing Job will land him in hot water with the Lord. But here is one of his most wise exhortations. He asks Job to commit his cause to God who can do wondrous things.


Who giveth rain upon the earth,
And sendeth waters upon the fields;
So that he setteth up on high those that are low,
And those that mourn are exalted to safety.
He frustrateth the devices of the crafty,
So that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.
He taketh the wise in their own craftiness;
And the counsel of the cunning is carried headlong.
They meet with darkness in the day-time,
And grope at noonday as in the night.
But he saveth from the sword of their mouth,
Even the needy from the hand of the mighty.
So the poor hath hope, And iniquity stoppeth her mouth.
Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth:
Therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.
For he maketh sore, and bindeth up; He woundeth,
and his hands make whole.
He will deliver thee in six troubles;
Yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.
(Job 5:10-19 ASV)


Here Eliphaz lays out the glory and goodness of God towards those who do as he exhorts Job to do, place their trust in and presents their case before God.

But Eliphaz's poetry is really quite beautiful. He shows how God exalts the lowly and comforts and protects those who mourn. Yes, God does all these things and more.

He takes the wise in their own craftiness. When the devil launches is evil plans and plots against the righteous, but those who put their trust in God often see those wicked plans come to nought, or worse entrap those who laid them. This he does for the poor and defenseless. Then Eliphaz makes his consistent misapplication as to the cause of Job's suffering and clearly implies that God is correcting Job (vs. 17) for some sin and is being chastised of him for some clandestine wickedness.

In famine he will redeem thee from death;
And in war from the power of the sword.
Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue;
Neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh.
At destruction and dearth thou shalt laugh;
Neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.
For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field;
And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.
And thou shalt know that thy tent is in peace;
And thou shalt visit thy fold, and shalt miss nothing.
Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great,
And thine offspring as the grass of the earth.
Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age,
Like as a shock of grain cometh in in its season.
Lo this, we have searched it, so it is;
Hear it, and know thou it for thy good.
(Job 5:20-27 ASV)

Eliphaz continues on with his praise of God's goodness to the righteous. Eliphaz's words appear to be well meaning. He appears to be very concerned with Job and is carefully trying to get Job to confess his sins. But Job had no great sins and such an idea as God striking a man who was perfect and upright (God's opinion, not mine!) was to Eliphaz unthinkable. This was the flaw in his theology. It was an aspect of God and spiritual goings on he was not and could not be privy to.
One of the things about the book of Job that is not talked about much is the idea of miserable comforters or just plain bad spiritual help that may seem good on the surface but lacks the deep spiritual discernment that is needed to deal with those who suffer. Too often we Christians give pat answers to the sufferings of others and come up with shallow answers that fits the superficial faith and understanding of too many supposed Christians. While we can hardly call Eliphaz's words superficial, they do spring from an incomplete understanding of the almighty and leads him to, in a round about fashion, falsely accuse Job.
This is one reason why our Lord's exhortation about judging others is so important. Eliphaz did not have all the facts. His words were right but only insofar as his incomplete understanding allowed. When we judge another man, we do not have all the facts. In no single instance do we finite humans have all the facts about another man's actions. This is why we must commit Judgment to the Lord and not try and condemn others... unless it is done under prophetic or apostolic anointing.

So in the future, when we see events in the personal lives of others, we would be wise to listen to all sides and reserve judgment of others on their personal sins or what appears to be a 'judgment from God'. We don't have all the facts, only God does. He who points the index finger at another, has three other fingers from his own hand pointing back at himself.

So let us all remember this...

Judge not,
that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge,
ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete,
it shall be measured unto you.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye,
but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother,
Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye;
and lo, the beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye;
 and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote
 out of thy brother's eye.
(Mat 7:1-5 ASV)

We will move on to Job's response next week, God willing!


22 Sept

No Time For Fear


Now it came to pass on one of those days,
that he entered into a boat, himself and his disciples;
and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side
of the lake: and they launched forth.
But as they sailed he fell asleep:
and there came down a storm
of wind on the lake; and they were
filling with water, and were in jeopardy.
 And they came to him, and awoke him,
saying, Master, master, we perish.
And he awoke, and rebuked the
wind and the raging of the water:
and they ceased, and there was a calm.
And he said unto them, Where is your faith?
And being afraid they marvelled,
saying one to another, Who then is this,
that he commandeth even the winds and the water,
and they obey him?
(Luk 8:22-25 ASV)

That is what time it is for we who love our Lord. It is a time not to fear the troubles and what may soon to turn out to be tribulations for the nation and the world. When the disciples fell asleep in the above passage, a great storm came upon them and the ship was taking in water. They were afraid that they would drown. Yet there was no real danger. Their natural senses saw danger, but the Lord was with them and the danger, while real, would not effect them. The Lord demonstrated power over the wind and the water in this instance. But he also gently rebukes his disciples for their lack of faith. This lack of faith is something we must avoid in any coming tempest in our world, country or lives.

As we watch the happenings in the country, the fires, the protests, the hate, the drug abuse, the propaganda and lies and yes, the satanism, we must not be afraid. We must learn to stand on the rock of our salvation, even Jesus Christ, know that he has the power, should he choose to rebuke all or any of these things away. But I don't think he has any intention of doing that. These storms we are seeing are for the most part, the fruit of our misdoings as a nation, world and species.

Man is the problem. We can talk about specific problems with the US as I have at length, but the real problem is that man is lost in a maze of spiritual caverns of his own making for which what little light he once had is now dimming considerably. He goes deeper into the caverns of his own human philosophy and winds up lost in the dark. This is where mankind is today. Communism, Humanism, Atheism, Epicureanism, Democracy, Authoritarianism, sexual licentiousness, religious charlatanism -  mankind has created various philosophies that leave God completely out of the equation. Is it any wonder the nation and world is in such trouble? No it isn't. One very positive note about this country is that we have followed after Democracy and the founders of this country did not leave God out of the equation. Though many in this country do seem to want to change that.

We as Christians have to live in this world just like the disciples had to get on the boat. The key for us to remember is that God is with us in the storm. This storm in America could get worse, sooner rather than later. It all remains to be seen. But if it does get worse, we must place our faith in God and do whatever it is he tells us, no matter how much it may fly in the face of 'reason'. Let us just make sure that it is indeed God's voice we are listening to. He will tell us what to do and when.

I honestly wish I could tell you that things are going to get better for the nation and world. Well I do wish it, but I don't think it is likely to happen... at least not for a sustained period of time. I strongly suspect that unless there are some big changes in the nation and the way it does things, the way the government runs, the way the courts run and most importantly, the way the people in this nation live their lives, I think it entirely possible that America's best days, lie behind her. The key is this - we as a nation have simply got to get our 'act' together on numerous fronts, but most importantly spiritually.

But that does not mean for the saints that our best days lie behind us! If you are too wedded to America (and what she has become) you are probably going to be in for some very bitter disappointments. For America and this whole world one day is going to go under judgment. But if your mind and heart are set on God's kingdom and if you are living for the heavenly gift in Christ Jesus, be assured, your best days lie ahead of you!!

But what may lie ahead for those who are shifting between the love of this world and its systems and the love of God, this may be a time of testing to see which way they will turn.

And Moses said unto the people,
Fear not: for God is come to prove you,
and that his fear may be before you,
that ye sin not.
(Exo 20:20 ASV)


God had to test Israel and he has to test us. I hate to break it to you, but many will fail the test. Some will pass. Some will be tested again. Still others will apostatize. But the ultimate test is do you love the Lord?

He that hath my commandments,
and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:
and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father,
 and I will love him, and will manifest
 myself unto him.
(Joh 14:21 ASV)


What about the love of America or any of the kingdoms of this world?

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

So as we watch this nation slowly go into crisis, let us remember these commandments always. Let us write them on our hearts. If we love the Lord we will obey his commandments, if we love the world the love of God is not in us.

I have heard many Christian writers and would be prophets 'weep' for America. No, brothers, we should no more weep over America than for a nation that is careening towards Sodom. America needs to remember God and that all blessings flow from him. But if it is a curse we as a nation demand, our behavior will let God know that too. He has put before all men, life and death, blessings and cursings. America is no exception to this timeless principle. God has not changed, neither have his standards.

Let us rather weep for the Church who should be a powerful light in these times, but in too many cases, is too much in love with the world to make a break with it.

I know that for almost all of you, you know these things. I am not saying anything new to any of you. But I say these things by way of reminder because the hour is late and I am just sensing that over the next few years, tremendous changes may be afoot in this country and the world. Will that dreadful 4th beast (of Daniel) make its appearance on earth soon? I don't know, but I suspect that its appearance will transpire after a series of crisis hit the world and 'order' is needed. It will be powerful and no one will be able to make war against it, no one down here on earth.


and they worshipped the dragon,
because he gave his authority unto the beast;
and they worshipped the beast, saying,
Who is like unto the beast?
and who is able to war with him?
(Rev 13:4 ASV)


It will even make war against we saints and have power to overcome us as well (Rev 13:7). It will be like nothing this world has seen before. The good news is that its reign will be short (42 months - Rev 13:5).

I can say with no degree of certainty when this system will arise, but the rapid rise of technology - particularly people control technology and other trends in our world for control over the populations of the earth, I just see it as being fairly close at hand, once all the tools the devil needs to bring it into being are in place.

But we must not be afraid, this overcoming mentioned above is just over our body or temporary tabernacle if you will. We will ultimately overcome this system.


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

These shall war against the Lamb,
and the Lamb shall overcome them,
for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings;
 and they also shall overcome that are with him,
called and chosen and faithful.
(Rev 17:14 ASV)


Why does God allow us to be overcome by the beast system? I don't know for sure. But I suspect that one reason it is to give a greater impetus to the deception that God will send the world in those days. People will see God's saints being murdered by the beast and will say, "Where is their God? This New Order is even more powerful that the God of the Christians..." and the citizens of the world will line up to take the mark of the beast. I also see at as being a test for the saints - a trial to see if we love our lives unto death.

Let us remember that the strong delusion is sent by God. He is sending this one down here to the world who has consistently chosen evil over good and the lie over the truth. This is not a weak delusion God will send, but a strong one (2Thess 2:11) If it is a lie they want, he is going to let them have it - to use a metaphor - with both barrels, square in the chest at point blank range. The scriptures give no indication that anyone who drinks of this cup of this particular delusion is going to survive it. This is why we must always be vigilant against allowing ourselves to be swept up in the currents of deception that run with considerable force in our world today.

I ask you to pray for this election that God's will be done, whatever that will may be. It may be time for America to go under further chastisement and thus he knows which candidate is likely to help bring that about. He may give us more time to repent. What God wills, let us pray that it comes to pass and that he remember his saints even in the midst of the troubles that come. I see the enemy in much of what is happening in our country today.

May God richly bless each of you as you serve Christ Jesus in spirit and in truth.

Be encouraged in your faith!

Amen.

Brother Mark



18 Sept

Tidbit

(Note: This was written a couple of weeks ago for insiders) I want to just take a minute and show you something from the CBO that just came out. It's about the whole US fiscal situation. It bears watching. Why? As I said a few days ago (to insiders), I suspect, just a suspicion mind you... but I suspect that one the reason the stimulus talks are proposing such meager amounts is because there is real concern over the debt. Key leaders in Congress may have been given a kind of 'reality check' briefing on the US debt situation that you and I will never be allowed to see.

The details of these kinds of problems, the real ones,  are often kind of 'hidden' in some of the data coming out of the government. Keep in mind, when the news is really bad and they are forced to report it, they will often try and 'bury it' deep inside their reports and hope that no one notices it.

This time, the bad news is put right up in the first pages in the 'at a glance section'.

Deficits. CBO projects a federal budget deficit of $3.3 trillion in 2020, more than triple the shortfall recorded in 2019. That increase is mostly the result of the economic disruption caused by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and the enactment of legislation in response. At 16.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the deficit in 2020 would be the largest since 1945. The deficit in 2021 is projected to be 8.6 percent of GDP. Between 1946 and 2019, the deficit as a share of GDP has been larger than that only twice. In CBO’s projections, annual deficits relative to the size of the economy generally continue to decline through 2027 before increasing again in the last few years of the projection period, reaching 5.3 percent of GDP in 2030. They exceed their 50-year average of 3.0 percent in each year through 2030.

Debt. As a result of those deficits, federal debt held by the public is projected to rise sharply, to 98 percent of GDP in 2020, compared with 79 percent at the end of 2019 and 35 percent in 2007, before the start of the previous recession. It would exceed 100 percent in 2021 and increase to 107 percent in 2023, the highest in the nation’s history. The previous peak occurred in 1946 following the large deficits incurred during World War II. By 2030, debt would equal 109 percent of GDP.

Outlays. Federal outlays are projected to equal 32 percent of GDP in 2020, 11 percentage points (or about 50 percent) above what they were in 2019 and the highest percentage since 1945. Projected outlays fall relative to GDP over the following four years, as pandemic-related spending wanes and low interest rates reduce net interest outlays. In the second half of the projection period, outlays rise from about 22 percent of GDP to 23 percent in 2030. That change results from increased spending for major entitlement programs because of the aging of the population and rising health care costs, as well as from increasing net outlays for interest due to rising interest rates and debt.

Revenues. Federal revenues are projected to fall from 16.3 percent of GDP in 2019 to 15.5 percent in 2021, primarily because of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic and the federal government’s response. Revenues rise after 2021, reaching almost 18 percent in 2030, as a result of the expiration of temporary provisions enacted in response to the pandemic, scheduled increases in taxes, and other factors.

Changes Since CBO’s Previous Projections. CBO’s estimate of the deficit for 2020 is now $2.2 trillion more than the agency estimated in March 2020—mostly because of recently enacted legislation. CBO now projects a cumulative deficit over the 2021–2030 period of $13.0 trillion—$0.1 trillion less than the agency projected in March. That 10-year decrease is the net result of changes that go in opposite directions. Lower projected wages, salaries, and corporate profits, as well as recent legislation and other changes, increase deficits, but lower projected interest rates and inflation reduce them (see the appendix). - CBO

Chart below from CBO

Chart showing CBO
                                              deficit estimates for 2020
                                              3.3 Trillion or 16% of
                                              GDP

Well, no one saying much about it, but debts have just got to be an issue when Congress and the Senate meet and are briefed behind closed doors. As much as I would like to have another stimulus check and I know millions of Americans would too, and many of them need one, it may not be the best for the country. It's wallowing in debt and as strong as the SS America is, another couple of shipping crates full of debt on her fiscal deck may have her listing to one side or even send her to the bottom.

Debt is a major issue. But another one? Jobs. As we all have heard, many job are not going to be coming back. Perhaps not for many years. That is going to make life hard if not impossible for a whole lot of people. Crime is rising in our cities and not totally because of the protests. I keep reading stories of 'mass exodus' from major cities and the price of rural real estate rising as people flee the cities. With the rise of Telecommuting, living in major cities may slowly become a thing of the past for some. 

But jobs... man that is I think going to be an issue for a lot of folks. Jobs and then paying the rent...

Interest rates, speculative bubbles, Federal deficits. I could go on and on about them, but to a guy who is 30 days from eviction, it does him no good. He may start to understand why he is going to be homeless, but it does not prevent him from being homeless. This is one reason I cannot vote for the two party system. It is this system, in my view and the fiscal irresponsibility of years and years of politics as usual that are dragging the US into the fiscal abyss.

...I do believe skilled analysts will look back and point to the destabilizing impact of prolonged ultra-loose monetary policies stoking speculative finance, distorted asset price Bubbles, and general Monetary Disorder. The fixation on consumer price indices slightly below target in the face of such historic Bubbles will be a challenge to justify. - Credit Bubble Bulletin (29 Aug, 2020)

I could not agree more. This can only end badly... for everyone. Like the bottle that no one can snatch from a drunkard, so it has been with politicians and establishment economists with the easy money debt-machine. Both get downright belligerent if you try and take that 'bottle' away.

Americans, when it boils down to it are no better. They put those guys in there time and again and you know what? Despite all the screaming about debts and deficits many have done for years, the politicians never talked about it at election time. So the titanic just kept on sailing right into the iceberg, captain piloting the ship with bottle firmly in hand. The only difference I saw between the two parties was the label on the bottle.

No, I suspect that many commentators may be right, we may coming to the end game on this whole dance of debt. Sure, we can chug along a few more years, but I suspect the damage done because of these lockdowns will be permanent. I hope I am wrong and I admit I might be, the US economic machine has in the past been very resilient. Still... tell me where all those people who lost jobs and will yet lose their jobs will find new ones with all the businesses now closing up. Who is going to open up new ones in this lockdown environment that some places seem determined to continue? How much of the lock-down mentality is 'political', hoping to get new leadership in the Country by smashing up the economy in order to blame the current leaders for the economic disaster for which they are largely, not responsible?  I don't know, but the politics of 'lockdown' seem to be a dark reality today and all sides seem to be playing it.

New leadership in DC isn't going to get the waiter, cook, bartender or mechanic his job back. Yelp just did a report this month on the economy and shows just how permanent many of these job loses are.

No, the economy was doing quite well. That is until Lockdown Mania hit the country.

The lockdown hangover may wind up being a new wave of homeless camps arising on the ashes of those poorly advised and quite possibly, politically motivated policy decisions.

We will have to see. 


Note: This piece is personal commentary and should not be taken as any kind of financial advice.


15 Sept

Job Part XIII


Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite,
 and said, If one assay to commune with thee,
wilt thou be grieved? But who can withhold himself
from speaking? Behold, thou hast instructed many,
And thou hast strengthened the weak hands.
Thy words have upholden him that was falling,
And thou hast made firm the feeble knees.
But now it is come unto thee, and thou faintest;
It toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.
(Job 4:1-5 ASV)

The second of the major speeches begins after Job's pitiful lamentation in chapter three. Eliphaz as the Temanite speaks and gently rebukes Job for his self pity.

Well, Job's state was pitiful and Eliphaz begins, not by expressing his condolences or his sympathy, but by starting to rub salt into his wounds!! He remarks that Job, whom many looked to in the past for comfort in their affliction now has to bear up under it and instead of being strong, he faints. This is the view of a man who obviously knew Job and understood how important a pillar he was in his community. But Eliphaz only see's things from a very limited and human perspective as he passes judgment on Job without all the facts. He basically calls him weak when Eliphaz himself has not experienced what Job has gone through. He had not as the saying goes, 'walked a mile in Job's shoes'. So therefore his words lack sympathy and the love of the friend he professed to be.
Is not thy fear of God thy confidence,
And the integrity of thy ways thy hope?
Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished,
being innocent? Or where were the upright cut off?
According as I have seen, they that plow iniquity,
And sow trouble, reap the same. By the breath of God they perish,
And by the blast of his anger are they consumed.
The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion,
And the teeth of the young lions, are broken.
The old lion perisheth for lack of prey,
And the whelps of the lioness
are scattered abroad.
(Job 4:6-11 ASV)
How verse six is rendered has been a matter of considerable debate. The KJV doesn't make the meaning clear. There are many ways to translate it. Let me give you a few. These comments/renditions are quoted from both Barnes and Clarke's commentaries
Dr. Good renders it,
Is thy piety then nothing? thy hope
Thy confidence? or the uprightness of thy ways?

Noyes renders it,
Is not thy fear of God thy hope,
And the uprightness of thy ways the confidence?

Rosenmuller translates it,
Is not in thy piety and integrity of life
Thy confidence and hope?

In the Vulgate it is translated,
“Where is thy fear, thy fortitude, thy patience, and the integrity of thy ways?”

In the Septuagint,
“Is not thy fear founded on folly, and thy hope, and the evil of thy way?

I think Coverdale hits the true meaning (Clarke): Where is now thy feare of God, thy stedfastnesse, thy pacience, and the perfectnesse of thy life?

I tend to like Clarke's the best but Noyes is also good. The next verse (7) asks the question of Job as if in a subtle accusation of some secret sin, who ever perished being innocent? A good question and one that their earthbound minds could not give a godly answer to, only a kind of philosophical one; that good men get good things in life and evil men evil things. But as we who know our Lord and our Bibles understand, this is not always so clear cut in this wicked world.

Eliphaz ascribes his limited human understanding to God's actions and opines that God always blasts the wicked. At the consummation of this age, yes. But in Job's situation his words hardly apply. Eliphaz was clearly quoting a common belief of his time that the wicked are always punished for all to see.

The lion metaphor (vs. 10-11) clearly is meant to be a symbol of powerful and wicked men or rulers. Using lions as metaphor for wicked rulers and men of power was common in scripture (see Psa 7:2; Psa 10:9; Psa 17:12, etc.; Eze 19:3, Eze 19:5; Nah 2:12; Zep 3:3, etc.). Eliphaz is saying that when they do wickedness, God breaks their power and their whelps (Princes) are scattered when they have no king or kingdom to rule over, at least this is how I read the passage. Yet The Pulpit commentary has this interesting aside on this passage and what Eliphaz may be hinting at in his speech.
That commentary says that Eliphaz may be darkly hinting that Job may have some secret sin and could make him be numbered among these kingly 'lions'.

Now a thing was secretly brought to me,
And mine ear received a whisper thereof.
In thoughts from the visions of the night,
When deep sleep falleth on men,
Fear came upon me, and trembling,
Which made all my bones to shake.
Then a spirit passed before my face;
The hair of my flesh stood up. It stood still,
but I could not discern the appearance thereof;
A form was before mine eyes: There was silence,
and I heard a voice, saying, Shall mortal man
be more just than God? Shall a man
be more pure than his Maker?
Behold, he putteth no trust in his servants;
And his angels he chargeth with folly:
How much more them that dwell in houses of clay,
Whose foundation is in the dust,
Who are crushed before the moth!
Betwixt morning and evening they are destroyed:
They perish for ever without any regarding it.
Is not their tent-cord plucked up within them?
They die, and that without wisdom.
(Job 4:12-21 ASV)

Eliphaz who was probably considered quite wise in his time, relates a spiritual experience; a vision of sorts to Job that he had one night. It scared him. Clearly he saw something that he could not quite discern stand before him. Then he heard a voice asking if a man can be more just than God? His rebuke in recalling this vision, appears to be a subtle one to Job.

Since Job has not acknowledged the 'sin' he was being punished for, his lack of confession, implies that he thinks God is at fault and he is more just than God - this appears to be the view Eliphaz is alluding to. That Eliphaz had such a vision shows that he was known of by God. It does not necessarily mean that God approved of the person but that God had enough concern for them or someone they were dealing with to send a message to them. Consider Laban (Gen 31:24), Abimelech (Gen 20:3) and Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel Chapter 2) as well as many others - each were not known as saints per-se, yet God spoke to them. Eliphaz may have been relating an event in his own life where he was rebuked by God in such a fashion, but the text does not make this clear, only that some kind of vision with the referenced message was given to him.

Eliphaz then goes on to compare a self-righteous man with God's servants and his angels, whom God puts no trust in and even charges with folly. So we mere mortals who dwell in houses of clay (our human bodies) how can we stand in judgment of God and level accusations at him? How can a 'clump of mud' like mankind be more pure, more just than God? This is Eliphaz's round about accusation at Job who has not confessed to any wrong which 'obviously' he has committed or he would not have lost all and be forced to sit on an ash heap scraping his sores with a potsherd. This appears to be the implication Eliphaz is making in his speech.

We will continue out look at Job next well God willing!


10 Sept

Note: This was written back in April 2015. As we move towards election day and we are seeing all manner of stories, censorship, fake news, lies, political speeches and various kinds of digital 'flatulence' enter into the debate, I was poking around some of my old writings and figured this old article many be of help to some readers here who may need to get to that special place and 'get real' about what they are hearing, reading and seeing and what this and most US elections are all about.

I Can't Help You

There comes a time when you just have to throw up your hands and say, "I can't help you." What I mean is this. I get a lot of questions, not so much here on the site but from others. The truth is, trying to answer some of the questions people have is very complicated and one just has to do something that most people are not willing to do in order to do get some real understanding.

You see, I am a man with no illusions. I mean that NO ILLUSIONS. I cannot cater to those who hold them. I never went into politics because I lack the capacity for self deception that is needed to lead other based on political ideology. I also lack the capacity to deceive others along the same lines. To understand our world today, it takes an inner intellectual (not spiritual) hardness - a cold, razor sharp eye that is not big on fluff, spectacle, mendacity, front, show and misdirection. If you are the kind of person who has that razor sharp no-nonsense attitude or wants to be like that, this site will be of tremendous help to you.  This is why I don't subscribe or belong to any political party. This is why I don't like modern denominationalism, I am not big on transitory social movements, trends and fads either. Like I said, I reject illusion and a serious person who wants to cut away the baloney in today's world must take this brutally intellectually honest stance. It takes a kind of mental discipline to get to that place. Many folks are not emotionally equipped to get there.

Having illusions only leads to delusions and delusions to deceit. I lack the capacity for self-deceit. Some call this suspicion or negativity or a glass half-empty mentality. I don't. I guess the way I see it is like this - give me the negative stuff up front. Don't tell me that what used to be a glass of water that is now shards of glass floating in a puddle of water is a 'glass half full'. Tell that to the delusional, but not me. Let me digest the hard truths and let me deal with it that way, I am sometimes pleasantly surprised when things are not as bad as they seem but I will never be bitterly disappointed.

In politics it is always best to have no illusions. Not about a candidate, party, platform, issue groups - nothing.  Do you want to cut through the issues and figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth? If you really want to, one of the best ways is to follow the money. But I have found that if a person follows the spirituality of a person or a group, this too is an even better indicator of where a person or group will lead you. If you follow the money you can quickly discover where a party or person will go. You can tell if they are lying to you. Do you see a guy who is campaigning on cutting defense spending taking tens of millions from defense conglomerates? He is probably lying to you. Now he will find a politically palatable way to make you think he tried to keep his word, but the truth is, if he's taking their money, he is far more likely to raise, not lower those budgets. Both parties know how to play the political game and know how to protect each other to keep key donors happy – brothers, they do it all the time.

More and more what you see in the news with the two party system is akin to shadow boxing. Much of it is fake and scripted. But at times following the money - this is not an easy task with the very sophisticated (and semi and quasi legal ways they do it) ways money is laundered these days.

But nothing of any substance happens in politics without a check being written in America. Why did Obama support gay marriage? Someone wrote him a check. Why are Black men still being shot down in cold blood? Because no one is writing any checks to stop it. This is the cold hard reality that most of my countrymen still don't understand. Why has the war on terror been fought? Because someone (big defense contractors and security firms) saw billions in contracts and wanted to see those contracts grow. Why has surveillance grown to what it is today? Because those big contractors are making billions from it, they know who to pay to keep the system in tact. I am not saying that the motives are always evil, only that the money is often one of the most important determining factors.

Do you want to know where defense budgets will go? See who is donating to whom and how much. Find out what systems need funding and a congressional go-ahead.

Our Intelligence agencies, our Media organizations, our big advertising and 'spin' making firms are all in the business of forming YOUR opinion. They make and are paid enormous amounts of money to massage, create and change your opinion on matters that could make or cost those with power and money; a great deal of it. Those men would not be paying top dollar for those services if they did not work. They pay them because they do. You will never know which 'scientific study' is fake or done in a way to come to a pre-arranged conclusion that will make someone money.  A lot of scientific organizations, who are dependent on elite money push various theories (often just plain false) because if they don't, their funding gets cut. Dear readers, this is the way the game is played. This is why I have said to you in the past that if you read something in your mainstream news papers and sites, it is because for the most part, someone with deep pockets paid for you to read it. They want to change your opinion, support a false narrative, keep you buying this or stop buying that, support this policy and against that one.

This is why I tell so many folks who ask me questions that 'I can't help you'. It isn't that I don't want to, it is that I simply cannot do it until you jettison your illusions and delusions. Fall out of love with our political leaders. Stop looking at them with starry eyes and look at them with a critical one. Ask the tough questions and don't just accept talk and promises as a response to a problem. You want a solution? Demand one rather than a heart rousing speech, written by someone who you don't even know who is skilled in the art of psycho/political-lingusitics, dutifully read by the politician you are so in love with who will forget it five minutes after he spoke.

No brothers, the times of deception are already here. Most people don't believe they can be deceived and they are like a slave who does not see the shackles on his feet and the rope around his waist about to carry him off to God knows where. One of the very first things you must do to avoid delusion and deception is to have no illusions. Reject them all. ALL. Once you do that, you will be in a far better position to see, discern and understand the world we live in and not fall into the traps laid by the devil and his imps. You will never understand our world or escape the coming deception until you reject illusions (lies falsehoods, fanciful thinking, misplaced optimism, etc) and stand up like a man and take the truth like a full grown man (or woman). Leave illusions for children, they can afford them up until they get up to about 10. You can't, not as a Christian living in these times.

May God grant all of you grace and peace and discernment in these difficult and deceptive times and remember the last days deception encompasses the whole world. Just about everyone gets snared in it, it is so thorough and enticing. Those that don't get fooled get killed.

And I saw another beast
coming up out of the earth;
and he had two horns like unto a lamb,
and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth
all the authority of the first beast in his sight.
And he maketh the earth and them that
dwell therein to worship the first beast,
whose death-stroke was healed. And he doeth
 great signs, that he should even make fire
to come down out of heaven upon the earth
 in the sight of men. And he deceiveth them
that dwell on the earth by reason of the signs
which it was given him to do in the sight of the beast;
saying to them that dwell on the earth,
that they should make an image to the beast
who hath the stroke of the sword and lived.
And it was given unto him to give breath to it,
even to the image of the breast,
that the image of the beast should both speak,
 and cause that as many as should not worship
the image of the beast should be killed.
And he causeth all, the small and the great,
 and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond,
that there be given them a mark on their right hand,
 or upon their forehead; and that no man
should be able to buy or to sell, save he that
hath the mark, even the name of the beast
or the number of his name. Here is wisdom.
He that hath understanding, let him count
the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man:
 and his number is Six hundred and sixty and six.
(Rev 13:11-18 ASV)

And the great dragon was cast down,
 the old serpent, he that is called
the Devil and Satan, the deceiver
of the whole world; he was cast
down to the earth, and his angels
were cast down with him.
(Rev 12:9 ASV)

And the beast was taken,
and with him the false prophet
that wrought the signs in his sight,
wherewith he deceived them that
had received the mark of the beast
and them that worshipped his image:
they two were cast alive into the lake
of fire that burneth with brimstone:
(Rev 19:20 ASV)

But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse,
deceiving and being deceived.
(2Ti 3:13 ASV)


Or know ye not that the unrighteous
shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
Be not deceived: neither fornicators,
nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate,
nor abusers of themselves with men,
nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards,
nor revilers, nor extortioners,
shall inherit the kingdom of God.
(1Co 6:9-10 ASV)

Brothers and sisters, if you are not wise enough to get past these 2nd grade deceptions that are played out in our political system today, you will never survive the 'university level' deceptions that will be heading our way. You will wind up as spiritual road kill and have no one but yourself to blame...

.... and pay for it.

And another angel, a third,
followed them, saying with a great voice,
If any man worshippeth the beast and his image,
and receiveth a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand,
he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God,
which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger;
and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone
in the presence of the holy angels, and in the
presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their
torment goeth up for ever and ever; and they
have no rest day and night, they that worship
the beast and his image, and whoso receiveth
the mark of his name. Here is the patience
of the saints, they that keep
the commandments of God,
and the faith of Jesus.
(Rev 14:9-12 ASV)


The spirit expressly warns us of considerable deception in our times, yet Christians are being tossed to and fro with all manner of bizarre doctrines, fake religious leaders and politicians whose main talent is the art of deceit.

Time to grow up and be ready to accept the whole truth like a man.

Why are so many Christians still flunking 2nd grade discernment lessons?

The lack of sound doctrine, the lack of intellectual and spiritual honesty and minds that are too hooked into the world and the way it does things rather than the Kingdom and the way God wants them done.




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