The Light and the Map

I awoke this morning to see a thick, murky fog all around. It was a bit depressing. But as I went outside to take the photo above I also found it beautiful—in its own way.

Unless it’s nighttime. It’s one thing to drive in fog during the day when there is a hint of light but when it’s dark outside and it’s foggy it can be downright dangerous and a bit scary. This can really get terrifying if you are on a narrow mountain road.

I’d imagine that most people feel like they are driving in dense fog at midnight on a dangerous mountain road right about now. No light, no guide, no way to know if they are going the right direction or heading towards a cliff.

This is the real difference between someone who is saved and someone who isn’t. We are in the same circumstances, we endure the same murky fog at midnight… but we have been given a light and a map.

Fog only allows us to view one step at a time. It is impossible to look very far down the road and see where we are headed.

But God has given us a light (Jesus—John 1:4-5) to guide our steps and a map (the Bible, God’s Holy Word) of where we are going. We can see the next step (submission and obedience to God’s Word) and we know exactly where we are going (Heaven).

Of course, if surrendering our will to God and obeying His Word had been our priorities all along, what’s going on in the world wouldn’t have us so rattled. We talked about being pilgrims, we talked about persecution in vague terms, we’d lightly talk about heaven being a better place.. But now…well, now, we really mean it, don’t we?

And so we travel in this alternate universe one step at a time with our light and map in hand showing us the way to go, recognizing that not only are we pilgrims in a foreign and very strange land but we are hated pilgrims in a foreign land. Very few want our light and even fewer have any interest in our map.

But here’s the thing: That light and map we have—we are supposed to share it with others. We aren’t responsible if they choose to continue in darkness rather than to grab hold of the light. We aren’t responsible if they get angry and toss the map back in our face.

We are just responsible to share.

So let’s not be discouraged. We only need to take one step at a time and God has given us exactly what we need for that duty. He has told us exactly where this world is headed. While we may not know the exact layout of the land nor can we predict each curve or mountain, we do know where it’s going and where the road ends. In that, we are so blessed.

So share that blessing with others. Share your light and your map with those walking beside you. At work, when you are shopping, in school, sometimes even in our churches—so many are traveling without these invaluable tools to navigate this murky, dark time.

They may not want them but may it never be said that you didn’t offer!

False Teacher Friday: Jen Hatmaker

Jen Hatmaker looked so good there for awhile. She seemed to say things that seemed biblical. That were almost…right. And then she started veering off to the left. Ever so slightly and subtly. Until eventually she landed at where she is today– an absolute heretic when we compare what she is teaching to what the Bible says. It seems almost pointless to show that this woman is a false teacher, given how clear she makes it for us..BUT if you aren’t in the Word on a regular basis, you may be fooled by her twisting of the Word and her silvery tongue. She sure does make her poison sound like honey. And so my daughter, Jess*, did some digging to give some hard evidence to what this woman is really teaching, comparing it to scripture–

Jen Hatmaker has been around for quite a few years now. She has authored many books, hosts a popular podcast, and has a huge social media following. She has a very likable personality and people love her writing style full of humor and candor. She made headlines in 2016 when she came out in support of the LGBTQ community and received both applause and ridicule as a result. She claims to have reconstructed her faith and now offers “a new kind of christianity” that is really just paganism slightly disguised.

Honestly, Jen is so obvious in her blatant disregard for Scripture that I almost didn’t feature her. However the idea of deconstructing and reconstructing your faith, sometimes called a de-conversion story, is one that is gaining traction and popularity. And so I thought it might be helpful to break down her story so we can see where she gets it wrong according to the Bible. Not because I find joy in calling people false teachers or because I have fun defaming popular “Christian” figures. It makes my heart hurt. But her message is so dangerous that it demands we chime a loud warning bell. And if I can help just one person steer clear of her false ideology, it will be worth it.

The first thing Jen shares about her de-conversion story is the negative aspects of the traditional, evangelical church. She claims that the church doesn’t let people ask questions, never acknowledges gray areas, doesn’t allow for uncertainty, and are unaccepting of certain types of people. That church is outdated, racist, unloving, misogynist, naive, oppressive, and too dogmatic.

The second thing she does is portray herself as the victim of this big, bad church. She simply decided to ask the questions nobody else would. She started seeking and embarked on a journey for answers. And when the answers she found didn’t line up with historical & Biblical Christianity, then she was “mistreated in ways that were scary, disorienting, crushing, devastating.” But her conclusions were in complete opposition to the Bible. So just because some people told her that she’s wrong and the Bible’s right, she’s a victim?

And finally, Jen shares with her audience a new belief system her journey lead to. When she was finally brave enough to ask the hard questions, she found freedom and light and acceptance. She invites them to go on the same journey. Here’s just a few of the conclusions she came to:

𝐖𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐲𝐬. “For a season that sense of certainty was wonderful…but of course upon scrutiny it breaks down because, as always, we come to Scripture and the things that we say are certain are obviously not certain to other people…certainty really only works in an echo chamber.” She is insistent that if we really scrutinize our beliefs, we’ll find that we can’t really be certain about anything at all. She claims that when she struggled to find clarity, the Bible “just wouldn’t cooperate on perfect clarity.” I’m confident it wasn’t the Bible that wasn’t cooperating.

𝐖𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭’𝐬 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐞 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐮𝐢𝐭. One may wonder how we can know what’s true if we can’t be certain about anything the Bible says. Ironically, she twists the meaning of Jesus’ parable in Matthew 7 to answer this question. She says that “[Jesus is like] when there’s something, be it a relationship, or a person or a doctrine, whatever, that feels ambiguous, or it feels contentious, or there’s tension around its interpretation, look to the fruit…a good tree is gonna bear good fruit, and a bad tree is gonna bear bad fruit…that’s a clue that I feel like Jesus put into the hands of future believers, as we were going to do our generations work of pressing on Scripture and finding the threads of truth, and how do we interpret it and apply it to our lives at this time.” Yes, she did just say threads of truth. Actually, Jen, the entire Bible is true and it applies to our lives the same way for all of time.

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐆𝐁𝐓𝐐 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲. Her theory of good and bad fruit is what convinced her of this fact. She said the fruit of the “non-affirming Christian tree” was rotten (depression, self-hatred, broken families, loneliness) while the fruit of the “affirming Christian tree” was universally good. “And so that gave us the confidence to continue pressing until we felt convinced that God would have us open our arms wide to our LGBTQ friends and neighbors, and welcome them into the church, as they are” she concluded in an interview. (Given her view of scripture this would make sense, would it not? No passage regarding this would matter because it isn’t a “thread of truth” in her world. She is the one who gets to decide what is true and what isn’t. ~lda)

𝐃𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞. “That question you are asking, that dream, that need, that buried anger, that delicious desire, it can all live in the open, and its unveiling can be your liberation song” she writes. She encourages her readers to believe that “I am exactly enough” and “I deserve goodness.” She writes that even the worst evildoers “have something precious at their core.” She believes that if we but uncover our inmost being, we’ll find great and glorious good for the world. But the Bible says that our inmost being is utterly sinful, that there’s nothing good in us, that we deserve hell, and that our fleshly desires lead only to sin. And since she misdiagnoses our sinful condition, then there is no need for the Gospel. Which makes sense, I guess, since she never mentions it anyway.

𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐬 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞. “Everyone belongs” she says “and until everyone belongs, we’ve replaced truth with a lie. This the world Jesus envisioned.” She begs us to ask “what feels and sounds like actual good news, instead of who is in and who is out?” Is that really the world that Jesus envisioned, though? He talks countless times about the narrow way, about people being in and people being out, about the wheat and the chaff, the true and the false. Does it matter what feels like good news to us?

𝐑𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬 𝐁𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞. “When loving God results in pain, exclusion, harm, or trauma to people then we are doing the first part wrong. It is not God in error but us.” She makes it clear that if we tell anyone that they’re wrong or sinful then we aren’t loving. But that’s her definition of love, not the definition we find in the Bible that never rejoices in iniquity.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. She completely negates the need for church since she figured out this new Jesus “lets me watch CBS Sunday Morning instead of church without shame.” She never shares the Gospel. She never talks about sin or repentance or the Bible. She makes Jesus exactly who she wants Him to be. It amazes me that she can say all of these things and still be accepted in the “Christian community.” There’s nothing Christian about her. She throws out the Bible, the Gospel, the church, and the true Jesus Christ and then expects to be accepted by the Christian community? How have we come to this place? She followed her lusts straight into a pit of heresy. I pray that she goes on another journey that leads her back to the Bible. Because if we can’t be certain about that, then what’s the point of faith at all?

 

 

*Jess is wife to Seth and mom to three active boys. She loves to research and write (like her mom!) and can be found at Anchor for the Soul on both Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

An Analysis of Disintegration

You may be wondering what is pictured in that photo above. And that would be a great question. 

This past weekend my husband decided to clean our garage. It was a bit long overdue and there was quite a bit of “stuff” in there that we hadn’t seen for rather a long time. (You know those photos of picture-perfect garages with bins placed neatly on shelves? Yeah, not us.) Anyway, one of the things he found was an old blanket. I didn’t even recognize it so I have no idea where it came from. My husband brought it into the house and threw it in the washer.

When my daughter went to the washer, the above photo shows what she found. Thousands and thousands of tiny pieces of that blanket. The whole thing had literally disintegrated into nothing.nothing.

What a wonderful spiritual lesson we can learn from this. I couldn’t pass this one up! Actually there are two. I won’t spend a lot of time on the first one but I do want to touch on it. 

First, blankets get old and disintegrate. Everything gets older and weaker. Think of something you bought a year or two ago. Is it getting better? At the very least it looks the same. It doesn’t grow shinier and stronger as the years go by. This is a basic law of science. Things disintegrate as they age. Now think of this in light of evolution. Do you notice that it goes completely against this established law? There is no logic there whatsoever. It is my opinion that this illogical belief in evolution set the people up for the great deception we are seeing at work today.

Don’t let anyone intimidate you into thinking there is merit to the theory of evolution. They may try to intimidate you with their big words and degrees but the bottom line is that no one alive today was actually there in the beginning and what you believe is based on your starting point.

And this is just one way evolution goes against basic and tested scientific laws. It takes more faith to believe in evolution than to believe that God created the world. Just saying…

But I’d like to take this morning to consider this blanket in a different light. When my kids were little three out of four of them had a “blankie”. Their blankets were a form of security. They wanted them to relax and sleep with (and probably would have taken them everywhere if we had let them).

You see, we all have those things we turn to for security. We have those things we turn to that feel comfortable. Or help us escape from the real world. 

But when I looked at that trash can filled with those tiny blanket pieces, I was struck by the fact that all of those things will disintegrate, too. 

No love of the world will matter in the end. Sports; entertainment; hobbies; cars or boats or planes; temporal goals to make money or to climb a social or corporate ladder (and even fighting for freedom); buckets list full of daring (or average) things to do–none of this will matter. They will disintegrate like dust. Those things we obsess about–those things that gobble up hours of our time–those things that consume us, they will disintegrate just like that blanket.

There was once a man who wielded great power in a small church. But guess what happened when he got old and decrepit? Suddenly, his opinion didn’t matter that much anymore. You see, none of those things last. None of them. 

While there is nothing wrong in enjoying the good things of life, they shouldn’t consume us. I believe this is the number one way Satan distracts and renders the believer ineffective–wrap them up in the things of this world that don’t really matter. 

But let’s also take a look at that blanket in light of true vs. false religion. Worldly priorities aren’t the only thing that will disintegrate. So, too, will false religions.

You see, Christianity can be thrown in any washer, rung out a million times, hung out to dry in the fiercest of weather, and still come out strong and looking like new. It stands up to its promises.

All other religions disintegrate under pressure. Eventually, they leave people feeling hopeless and lost. From demon and ancestor worship to the “health and wealth” or “social” gospels, the blame is on you if things go wrong. It all comes back to something you need to do or didn’t do. It’s a horrible way to live. Oh, many are pleasantly deceived for a time but if you talk to those caught up in other religions, you quickly realize that the majority of them are not at peace. They really don’t know if they are good enough or if they’ve done enough to warrant heaven. 

What an amazing contrast we have in scripture–

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 18 Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18

Only biblical Christianity teaches that there is nothing we can do. Do you realize that this is the only religion that doesn’t teach that man needs to DO something in order to be right with God? It is one of the ways to know that it is the only true religion. It’s unique among every other world religion in that way. 

So why is it so hated? Why do people cling to their disintegrating blankets? The next verse in John 3 gives us a little insight to that–

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. John 3:19

People love darkness. They are completely disinterested in walking towards the light. What does that darkness consist of? I John 2:16 tells us–

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

You see to follow Christ, we must give up everything. We must first give up our pride. There is NOTHING we can do. NOTHING. We are lost sinners without hope. That’s a hard pill to swallow for most people and is the greatest hindrance to accepting that gift that Jesus freely offers.

And we must give up our lusts. The sins we love. The sins we enjoy. The sins that call us so enticingly. And, instead, we must pick up our cross and deny ourselves (Luke 9:23). That does not look very appealing to a world obsessed with self.

Only the saved person can understand the peace and joy that comes from a life lived for God. Only they can understand that, in losing our lives, we find them! (Matthew 16:25) This makes NO sense to the world.

And so, dear Christian, recognize that you have the blanket that will never disintegrate. While others around you are holding on to things that are fading away, disappearing, and turning to dust, you have something to hold on that will never diminish in its glory.

Let’s share this truth freely and often and with enthusiasm as God gives us opportunities.

Favorite Trees Topple and So Do Favorite People

I am writing a quick post on this holiday weekend because I have begun to notice a very disturbing trend of which I want to warn you. Keep in mind that I am making no statement about motives here. I have no idea why people are doing what they are doing. But we all need to be aware that many are doing it.

I believe that it is extremely important that we do not align ourselves with either side of what is going on here on earth currently. Both the Great Awakening and the Great Reset sides are evil to the core. One may sound more appealing and even more “Christian” but if you start digging just a bit, you will find it’s pretty ugly. If you don’t believe me, please just do some research. Both sides are clearly being used by Satan to bring in his antichrist system.

Which leads me to why I am writing today. I have been more than a little troubled to see many pastors, ministry leaders, and authors choosing to align themselves with one side or the other. Please beware if someone does this!

Last week two willow trees stood strong and tall side by side on my in-laws property next door. And then the other day Hurricane Ida blew through and brought 7″ of rain. As the ground became more and more saturated, the shallow roots of one of those willows loosened until the whole tree finally just toppled over.

When my grandson saw the tree he was so sad. “But that was my favorite tree.” Now I don’t really think it was his favorite tree. But he doesn’t like change. And this was change. I don’t think he’s very different from the rest of us. None of us love change. But change is here. And we can’t ignore it.

I am convinced that we are watching many “trees topple” just now. Some of them may even be our favorites. Ministries and people that we thought were sound and solid are toppling over into one ditch or the other and getting caught up in unbiblical arguments, bullying, and even “marketing”.

Honestly, it’s just…weird. And more than a little disturbing. 

I can’t believe the amount of people I have trusted who are attacking people for their beliefs about different issues. Should any Christian condescendingly attack another Christian about anything? If someone accuses a whole swath of people without knowing those people personally, I’d be very suspect of that person or ministry.

Beware of anyone who comes out strongly on one side or the other in a spirit of attack. It is one thing to share things kindly because you believe what you are sharing is important. This can very much be done out of spirit of love—no matter which side you find yourself on.

But when you can feel arrogance and condescension oozing from someone you have trusted, take a step back. If someone thinks they know how everything works, stop following them.

The bottom line is that NO ONE knows except God how this is all going to go down. We can do research, we can find some pieces to the puzzle, we can perhaps even see the overall big picture– but no human KNOWS what is going on behind the scenes or how the future is going to play out.

Strong trees topple and so do seemingly sound Christians. Don’t be fooled. Don’t be so loyal to someone that you miss their “toppling”. Examine the fruit of the Spirit of those you follow as you are able. Evaluate their words and attitude when someone disagrees with them. These things are very telling. Don’t blindly follow anyone (including me!) Only Christ deserves our unwavering loyalty.

We must keep our eyes on Jesus in this unprecedented, strange, and wildly wicked storm. We must stay in prayer and be in the Word. May we pray for discernment and for a heart and eyes open and willing to see the truth–whatever that is.

And expect to be disappointed. I hate to even write those words but I believe it’s true. It’s been a disheartening and incredulous year and a half as we have watched rampant compromise and the bizarre u-turns of people we have trusted. If this isn’t the beginning of the great delusion, then it must certainly be a foretaste of what lies ahead.

Keep your head up, my friends. Our redemption has to be drawing so nigh!

Being Oriented in a Disoriented World

Every now and again, I will accidentally remove an app from my phone and not only does that app go missing but everything else moves one place over or up. That seems like no big deal until you start looking for the app you need. Just where did it go? I stare at the phone and eventually find it. But I am stopped in my tracks on that initial effort because it isn’t where it is supposed to be.

What a lame analogy to what we are experiencing right now. Nothing seems to be where it’s supposed to be. And, while we can move things back to where they are supposed to be on our phones, we have no power to fix what’s going on in this broken, wicked earth at all.

This means that the only power we have in all the upheaval is how we personally handle it.

Sometimes it can be rather overwhelming, can it not? There is so much to take in. So much that makes no sense. There are so many who are deluded into believing things that are patently false. Things that are easily proven by hard stats and data. But few are listening. Whether we are referring to health issues, government issues, world events, or anything else, we can see a force at work that is not of God. While the world has always been in the hands of the evil one (I John 5:18-19), it seems quite ramped up right now.

So how do we stay oriented? How do we maintain our bearings in a world gone mad?

Know your Bible. If I’ve said that once, I’ve said it a million times: The Bible is the power for our Christian lives. God has given it to us so that we will stay oriented in a disoriented world. This morning, however, I want to speak specifically to the Bible’s incredible foretelling of the future. When we accept that Revelation must be interpreted literally, we will watch things fall into place in a supernatural way that means it must be the end. Let me speak to this for a moment. A few weeks ago I saw something going around on Facebook that basically said how dare you act like what you are experiencing is worse that what any other generation has gone through. And I hear that a lot. I am not sure anyone has claimed we are experiencing anything worse but we certainly are experiencing something that is different than any other generation has seen.

Why is this time in the world any different than any other time? Let’s look at a few of the basic reasons why this time is unique in the history of the world and would lead us to believe the very last days are upon us. Here are just a few of the main reasons: First, the technology is in place for a system that forbids buying and selling without a mark (Revelation 13:17). Second, the technology is in place for the two witnesses to be heard and seen across the entire world (Revelation 11:1-12). Third, the whole world is so obviously being set up for a global government and global religion (Revelation 13:7-8). Fourth, the nations are arranging themselves (just look into this–it’s quite fascinating!) in such a way that they are setting themselves up to fulfill the prophecies regarding Israel (Ezekiel 38 and more). And, fifth (and finally), the earth is responding just as we are told it would in the last days as it gets set up for the Tribulation (Matthew 24:7-8) All of these things–and so many more– show the astute Bible student that we are fast approaching the last days.

If we understand this, then what looks like chaos, confusion, and absurdity to most people starts to make total sense to those Christians who have studied what is predicted in Revelation. Knowing this helps to keep us oriented amidst all of the madness.

(There are so many Christians who do not believe in a literal fulfillment of Revelation. If you are one of these, please know that I count you as a dear sibling in Christ. This is no salvation issue. But may I gently encourage you to be willing to consider what I have written above?)

Control the anger and hold no grudges. When people feel out of control or have strong opinions about some issue, tempers flare. We can stay oriented by keeping our cool and refusing to hold grudges. While our flesh may push us to divide and break with friends and family, we must refuse, as much as it is up to us (Romans 12:18) to let this happen. We cannot be oriented if we cannot exercise self-control.

Be dedicated to all truth, no matter the cost. I am convinced that the reason so many can’t see the truth is because the cost is just too high. They will cause conflict with beloved friends or family. Or they will be ridiculed. Perhaps they would even lose their jobs or livelihood. It may be as simple as they will have to give up their view of the government or media or society and they just aren’t willing to do that. I will readily admit that in the overwhelmingness of what is becoming evident, it is difficult to grasp the truth. This is when we pray and ask the Lord to open our eyes to whatever He wants us to see. That He would keep us from being deluded and deceived as we move forward into this strange new world. In order to be oriented we need to be dedicated to the truth, no matter how painful and overwhelming that may be.

Keep the focus on the Gospel. In the midst of all that is swirling around us, we must remember that our true orientation comes from the truth of the Gospel. Christ died for you and for me so that we could escape the penalty of sin and live eternally with Him in heaven. Today, when you are at work or in the store, or wherever you find yourself with other people, just stop for a moment. Take a look around and realize just how many people are lost and headed to hell. If you believe, like me, that the end is near, then sharing the Gospel with those who are lost should become more and more urgent each day. And yet, so many of us just go about our days without ever giving this a thought.

We should be more concerned about this than anything else. A person can go to heaven while not understanding the evil that surrounds them. But they cannot go to heaven without hearing about Jesus and what He has done for them. We must keep the Gospel as our focus and not fall into the temptation to become wrapped up in the things that–when it’s all said and done–won’t matter for eternity. We stay oriented by keeping our main focus where the Bible tells us it should always be.

Refuse to be fearful or depressed. Fear and depression lead us into a chasm that totally disorients us. We must make a choice to not allow it to dominate us. We can only do this by the Lord’s help, of course, but we must make a choice. Why do I say this? Because it is what the Bible tells us. Let’s look at a few of these commands that indicate that we must make a choice–

Be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6).

Do not worry about your life (Matthew 6:25)

Do not worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34)

Look these verses up and note that they do not give way for any wavering. We are commanded to do these things. I am not implying that this is an easy thing to do. In fact, we cannot actually do this on our own. If we make this choice we must rely on God to actually accomplish this.

As many of you already know, I had a very dark time of fear and depression last summer. I felt like I was in a pit I could not get out of. I know how this feels all too well. I cried put to God and He was so faithful. If you are struggling with fear or depression today, cry out to God for help. We cannot be wallowing in fear or depression if we want to stay oriented. (I still have to actively make a choice most every day regarding the fear. Bible memory has been invaluable to me in my efforts to turn away from fear and trust God.)

Recognize that this is the end. I was out of town last year when the entire world changed. I vividly remember coming home and looking at my husband and saying “this is how it ends. I just feel like this is it.” At that time, I had no idea what was ahead but it felt different, didn’t it? There was something so sinister and ominous about what was going on, it’s hard to put it into words. A year and a half later, I stand by those words. This is how it ends. Staying oriented means being willing to see the truth about the state of things. When we compare world events with what we read in scripture, we can see that we are quickly approaching the end. If we want to stay oriented, we need to acknowledge this truth.

__________________________

I know there are so many who disagree with me on what I’ve written above. Perhaps those who disagree already stopped reading. They may think I am too negative. They might believe I am writing from a hopeless perspective that they just don’t believe is correct. (Let me just add here that I am not hopeless by a long stretch! I have just realized that our hope is not in this world but in the Lord alone!)

And so I’d like to take a moment and share something from my heart with you. While many bloggers and authors desire to get the biggest following possible, I have decided not to do that. I’d prefer to offer encouragement and support to like-minded people. I have chosen to be very specific in this according to a literal understanding of God’s Word. I believe very strongly that this is what the Lord has called me to do. While I never want to lose readers, I understand that it will happen with this philosophy of ministry and I accept that.

I hope that this has encouraged those of you who understand that we are in the last days. I hope, as I process for myself how to stay oriented in this disoriented (and insane) world, that this also encourages some of you.

May we continue to cling to God’s Word and to each other as we navigate these final days.

A Collection of Thoughts

Today’s post is going to be a bit different than usual. I wanted to cover a few different things that have come to my attention recently. I decided to combine them all in one post. Hopefully it doesn’t get too long…!

First–

Earlier this month, I wrote a post called “Preparing the Sheeple”. A few weeks after writing it I was listening to something and my ears perked up when the speaker talked about the tragedy of calling people “Sheeple”. His thought was that this is a trick of Satan’s to take what God has called us in the Bible and make it look like something bad. I was immediately stricken by this. Of course. I believe this man is right on in what he said. As Christians, we are compared to sheep. Sheep with a wonderful Shepherd. (See John 10.) So to compare us to sheep is really not a bad thing. Jesus makes it clear that this is exactly what we are.

A better animal to use for what we are currently seeing in the world is the lemming. A lemming is a small rodent-like creature that lives in the arctic. There is a long-standing myth that they jump off cliffs en masse and commit suicide. Yes, we are most certainly watching lemmings. Not sheep.

So please forgive me for not catching this before posting it. I’ve already changed that post, but I also wanted to draw attention to this error publicly. I feel rather foolish not to have caught it myself but I am so thankful the Lord drew my attention to this!

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Second–

A dear sister in Christ sent me a post that has had me thinking since I read it. I wanted to touch on just one paragraph of that post as it profoundly impacted me. Just in the case that I am not alone in this, I wanted to share it here with you, too. I’d like to first say that I know nothing about this author or how biblically sound she is. I do trust the sister that sent me this but please don’t view my sharing this as my carte blanche approval of everything the author has written. I am unfamiliar with her so, as always, be a Berean.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, here’s the bit from the post–

It is tempting to grow downcast, discouraged and despondent, curling up into a crumpled heap of despair. Careful: this is also a form of rebellion: Things are not going my way.

OUCH.

Seriously.

OUCH.

Have you ever considered the fact that your depression and despondency and discouragement is rebellion? I had not thought of it in those terms. I mean I knew it was sin but to be outright rebellion? Not me, Lord. But wait, when you put it like that, then: Yes, I have been rebellious.

It makes so much sense, does it not?

Instead of bowing the knee to our Creator, we are sulking. Sadness, frustration, irritability, despondency, anger– when these are a result of our dissatisfaction with our circumstances, these are all forms of rebellion against God and His sovereign will.

What do you think of when you think of a rebel? This doesn’t really fit our definition, does it? But there it is. If we unpack this, we can see that it is true. Oh, that God may eradicate all rebellion from our hearts–even the “acceptable” kind that so cleverly hides itself behind our cultural norms.

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Third–

As we navigate these strange times and recognize (if we are realistic) that the world we have known our whole lives is gone forever and we contemplate the ramifications of this, it is important to take one day–even one hour– at a time.

I can still remember my brother (Pastor Dean) telling me this often throughout his wife’s battle with cancer. As she approached death, he was still saying it. One hour at a time. God’s grace is sufficient. We must take just one hour at a time.

This reminds me of a verse I have memorized–

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34)

Interestingly enough, this verse is preceded by a very familiar verse to us all–

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)

These verses show us that our duty is to seek God and His righteousness and then let Him take care of the rest. While we must always act wisely and be smart (as opposed to flippant fatalism), these verses speak to the fact that, truly, we have zero control over anything.

So how exactly do we do we release that worry and anxiety? How do we get to that place of trusting God implicitly? (Just to be clear, I am still working on this myself…) But, as always, we find the answer for this in the Bible. Philippians 4:6-9 shows us–

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

These verses show us how to beat anxiety and worry–

  1. Make an intentional choice to cast off our anxiety
  2. Give every request–both small and large–to our God
  3. Have an attitude of thanksgiving
  4. Expect God to give us that peace that surpasses all understanding
  5. Think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report
  6. Familiarize ourselves with what Paul taught; know the scriptures well
  7. Follow Paul’s example as we seek to live our Christian lives

And the God of peace will be with you!

That’s a promise.

I believe we are all getting just a little bit more opportunity to put these verses into practice, aren’t we? This takes on a whole new meaning when you have to trust God because you are forced to quit your job due to a mandate that is beyond your control. It takes on new meaning when you are told you can’t see a family member or friend because you won’t meet their demands. Many of you are facing unbelievable trials right now. Things you never thought you’d face. We are learning to trust God in a whole new way and He is up for the challenge! He is GOD. He is far greater than any problem we are facing and He is faithful! We know this by His Word, by the experiences of past and current believers, and by our own experiences. May we remember His great grace and many mercies as we navigate these difficult days.

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Fourth (and finally)–

A few months ago, I asked you to give me your email address if you’d like to keep hearing from me should I be censored. I have decided to just go ahead and look for a new service, as I recently heard of my current subscription service shutting someone down for saying something they didn’t like. While that has not extended to my type of blog just yet, we do know just how much Satan hates the truth of Jesus Christ most of all. I believe this means it is only a matter of time before anything Christian is shut down by this company. Of course, this will probably extend to far more than just that particular company if the censorship gets that bad but I am hoping to extend the blog’s life just a little longer by moving it to a different subscription service. And so I am actively looking for a new service. (This is no easy task and I appreciate your prayers for wisdom in this!)

But let me explain why I am even sharing this. I have a subscriber list that is over 1200 people. But most of those 1200 people do not actually open the emails. As with most blogs, only a fraction of the people actually read the posts with any regularity. As I change services, I only want to add those who actually want to be on the list.

Many of you have already given me your email and are on the list already (and there is no need to give it to me again if this is the case). But if you haven’t given me your email address already and you’d like to keep hearing from me, please just respond to this email (or if you are reading this on social media, you can message me) with your name and the email address you’d like me to add.

This is not going to be quick and easy and I don’t know how long it will take until the switch is made. Currently, I am testing a service I came across to see how easy it is to use. It always amazes me how time-consuming these things are!

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Okay, so that’s it for today! Hopefully it wasn’t too long! I know it was a bit more disorganized than usual, but I do hope you were able to grab a nugget or two of truth to hang on to as you go out into the world today.

And remember: Be a light! Share Christ!  May we cast off our worries about saying the wrong thing or what people will think of us. We have the key to heaven and so many are lost. We have nothing to lose of eternal value and the lost person has everything to gain! Have a great day!

 

 

Our Only Hope

The other day I sat out on my porch in the early morning light. I was out much earlier than usual and the sun was just starting to awake. I glanced down at the pond below me and thought I saw a ginormous frog. I focused my eyes for a second and then realized that it was a rock. I laughed at myself but then realized, with somber awareness, that this is what so many are doing right now.

They are glancing or hearing something and they are taking it at face value. I would submit to you that the days for taking anything at “face value” are over. We can’t afford to just glance and assume we actually are seeing what we are seeing. It takes some serious digging to find out the truth. Digging that is critical to both our physical and our spiritual lives.

For example, the other day there was a doctor who put on social media what he is seeing in the hospitals. It was awful and, it it’s true, it was certainly something to encourage people to make a certain decision. However, upon further evaluation, we realized that he had said something that makes no sense at all and was completely inconsistent with common medical practice. Therefore it had absolutely no merit. He clearly had lied. Later, I found out that people are being paid money to lie on their social media accounts. With the dearth of integrity and the ease with which people lie, you can see how this would be a very effective way to push a narrative.

My point is this: Evaluate and examine everything. No matter which side or point of view it comes from. Don’t “pick a side” and then grow lazy. Deception is literally everywhere.

Whether it is regarding false teaching or any other happening in our world today, we must think beyond the obvious. Satan is counting on Christians not doing that. He’s counting on Christians not knowing the Word–either in regards to doctrine or prophecy. And he has a pretty good thing going at this point as most Christians are completely illiterate in both.

The Word is our only hope.

Literally–

Our. Only. Hope.

It’s what will keep us from being deluded. It’s what will show us deception. It will give us context for what is happening right now. It will encourage our hearts with God’s promises.

Remember–it will be so treacherous and perilous in the earth’s final days that–if it were possible–even the very elect would be deceived.

We must stay awake and alert with lamps full of oil as we await our Bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13). We must not sleep like others do but watch and be sober (I Thessalonians 5:1-11).

We can’t glance at something and assume it’s true. Yes, it takes work to think beyond the narrative. It takes work to compare all we hear from preachers and authors and teachers–and even on social media–against the Word of God. But this is our task as believers.

It is our only protection.

It is our only hope in this mixed up, insane world.

(Yes. I do know that I am being redundant. I recognize that I am saying this same thing over and over again. I do so because A) perhaps there is a new reader out there, B) It really can’t be repeated enough, and C) It truly is the only hope for believers in these last days.)

 

We Are Not Picking Out a Flavor of Danish

The other day I was walking through Costco when I came upon a display of luscious looking danishes. There were three options available: Cheese, Cherry, and Almond. Almond didn’t really appeal to me but when I asked the lady arranging the display which was her favorite, lo and behold, she enthusiastically said “almond”. A few seconds later, another lady came up and said they were her favorite, too!

Well, by that point, I was curious. Would I like the almond danishes? Was it worth the $5 if I didn’t like them? Aah, well. Why not try them? It’s nice to try something new once in awhile. I grabbed a pack and took them home.

And guess what? They were delicious! If you ever have a chance to try them, I recommend them.

But, of course, I am not trying to sell danishes. So what is my point?

I believe many Christians approach their Christian lives the way I approached those danishes.

 

Christian yoga? Oh, that sounds fun!

Lectio Divina (and other mystical forms of prayer)? Why not give it a try?

The latest trendy “Christian” book? What do I have to lose?

 

I’d like to submit that you have a LOT to lose. You see, the latest, greatest Christian trends are not like danishes. They aren’t like trying a different type of food or choosing to go with Ford instead of Chevy.

The Bible tells us that Satan is specifically trying to trip us up (Ephesians 6:11; I Thessalonians 2:18) He is seeking to devour us (I Peter 5:8). He does these things by looking like an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). In other words, Satan isn’t a fool. He knows that darkness and evil things would never be accepted by believers. And so he transforms his occultic offerings to Christians in pleasantries and “almost rights”.

Dear readers, there is a reason that we are told in the Bible to “test all things” (I Thessalonians 5:21). There is a reason we are told to separate from those who stray from the doctrine written in scripture (Romans 16:17). There is a reason we are given the example to examine the scriptures daily and compare them to what we are hearing from preachers, authors, and others who claim to be “Christians” (Acts 17:10-11).

You see, God has told us in His Word that we are in a battle. We are not in a battle with humans but with the “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of [c]the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12). If we are in a battle, fighting a supernatural enemy, doesn’t it seem that we should always be on the defense?

We can never be at ease. We are soldiers in a battle. We can never view the spiritual smorgasbord we are offered in this modern day the same way we’d view a smorgasbord of food. We don’t have that luxury.

Understanding our enemy and the commands given to defeat him go a long way in helping this concept make sense to us. Unless we are willing to see this as it is taught in scripture, we will view anything that comes along as innocent and worth trying.

May I encourage you to study the Word so that you can understand that the enemy desires to render you utterly ineffective in the Kingdom of God? He does this by things like distraction, anxiety, and busyness. But he also does this extremely effectively by turning undiscerning hearts towards doctrines of demons. If he can trip us up and get us caught up in practices that are not biblical, he has won a very important battle.

Oh, may we pray for discernment in this great time of deception. May we pray for God’s protection and guidance as we navigate all of the spiritual trends and modern-day marketing of all things “Christian” (most of which are NOT). He is faithful and He will answer that prayer.

 

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

 

 

 

While We Wait

Over the past year and a half I can think of three times where I heard something that was predicted to happen at a certain time and it made my heart tremble uncontrollably. It caused upheaval of my soul and I even lost sleep due to worry and fear.

But guess what? None of those things has happened. At least not in the timeline that was given.

I wasted my time and energy and lost sleep over nothing. Literally.

This frog 🐸 was sitting on our little bridge this morning. He sat there so still. Like he was waiting for something.

Made me think of myself and how tempting it can be to just…sit and wait for the inevitable “shoe to drop”.

But we are to be busy with the good works God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). There is no exception clause that encourages us to hunker down and do nothing when we think we see the end in sight.

Oh, how I so desire that my time and energy is spent on these good works prepared for me instead of wasting them on worry and fear.

Life is so short. Like the one-page introduction in the sweeping novel that is eternity. Oh, to keep this in mind as we sojourn here on earth.

 

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him”

I Corinthians 2:9

 

The Wisdom and Controversy of Agassiz

In the mid-1800s a man came from Europe to America by the name of Louis Agassiz. He was asked to be a professor at Harvard but, being a rather eccentric free spirit, he bucked the system. And Harvard, recognizing his genius, allowed him to do so. He smoked cigars on campus. He wore no black robes as the other professors. He allowed students in his classes without passing entrance examinations. And he prepared no syllabus.

I had never heard of this man before this past weekend, when I started reading David McCullough’s Brave Companions. McCullough writes in the introduction of this book that he is much more drawn to the people of history than to the events. I find that I, too, am the same. I was disinterested in history when it was all dates and happenings. But attach people and their stories to those dates and happenings and history absolutely comes alive!

Okay, I guess that is enough of the “History is Awesome” commercial… :)

Anyway…

This professor had a unique way of welcoming new students. He would grab a jar from his shelves of specimens. Inside the jar would be a dead fish. He would ask the student to observe anything and everything about this fish and then leave the room. A young man named Scudder describes his experience after giving his observations to the professor and then being told to look some more–

I was piqued; I was mortified. Still more of that wretched fish! But now I set myself to my task with a will, and discovered one new thing after another…The afternoon passed quickly; and when, toward its close, the professor inquired: “Do you see it yet?”

“No,” I replied, “I am certain I do not, but I see how little I saw before.”

Scudder goes on to write how the lesson lasted three whole days and of how much he learned about that fish. He says it was a lesson of inestimable value.

You see, Agassiz believed the backbone of education was to know something well. He believed that a “smattering of everything was worth little”. He believed that it was a “great and common fallacy to suppose that an encyclopedic mind is desirable. The mind was made strong not through much learning but by the “thorough possession of something.” In other words, “look at your fish.” *

As I read this story from the past I couldn’t help but think of Christians with their Bibles. How many of us have just a smattering of knowledge here and there? How many of us are reading or hearing about the Bible (devotionals, books, sermons) instead of making our own observations of the Bible? How many of us give our time and dedication to learning it well?

As believers, shouldn’t this be our main priority? Do we even recognize how important this is to our lives and how we live them?

The young man, Scudder, thought he had learned all there was to know about that dead fish. And, yet, when the professor encouraged him that there was more to learn, he turned back and found out what it was. He had a teachable spirit and he realized how very much he had missed in those first few hours.

If this is true of a dead fish, just think of how much we are missing when it comes to the Bible! We so often approach the Bible with the same spirit as Scudder in those first few hours, our eyes blind to the fact that there is literally endless treasure there within its pages. The more we study, the more we mine its spiritual depths.

If you have spent any time in the Word, you are already well aware of this. The more you study, the more you realize how much there is to know. And how much you don’t know. The more you study, the more you know your God. The more you study, the more insight you get, the deeper the comprehension and understanding of God’s plans throughout history and for the future. The more you study, the greater your discernment as deception grows in leaps and bounds all around us.

If we know anything WELL, may it be our Bibles!

And now, briefly, I want to touch on the controversy that surrounds Louis Agassiz. This morning as I typed his name in the search box to see if his museum of zoology is still in existence, the articles that popped up show that Harvard is ashamed of this professor. I have not done a thorough investigation, but apparently he was pro-slavery and also anti-Darwinism. These are two huge “no-nos” in the intellectual world today and they don’t seem to be quite sure what to do with him.

I bring this to your attention because it reminds me so much of the book “1984” which I read (for some unknown reason) in 2019. I wish I wouldn’t have read it, to be quite honest. But one of the things that sticks out in my mind from that book is the re-writing of history. It seems that this is what is going on in the academic levels. If they don’t like someone’s view on something they cancel them. As if that certain view makes everything from their lives–even their amazing contributions to mankind–null and void.

Do we realize the tragedy of this??!? And do we realize the absurdity of this? I think it is time we stop looking to the experts and the professionals and academic intelligentsia for answers. It seems they have obviously lost their collective minds.

It reminds me so much of that verse from Colossians 2:6-10–

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding [d]in it with thanksgiving.

Beware lest anyone [e]cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead [f]bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all [g]principality and power.

We Christians have been snookered into thinking that man has our answers to life. We turn to professionals, experts, and academia for everything. We look for answers to our problems and big questions in the wrong place.

If we will but study our Bibles humbly and thoroughly, we will realize that the answers we seek for life are there. We are COMPLETE IN HIM. And that is straight from the Bible.

I do want to make one thing abundantly clear, however: I am not saying that there aren’t times we need help from others. There is nothing wrong in asking for help. But this help should come from someone who is dedicated to God’s Word and the principles for life we find there. These helpers are hard to find. Recently, someone shared with me their conversation with a current student of a biblical counseling program. As he shared what he was learning with this person and how he would handle different situations, it became quickly apparent that there was no “Bible” in it at all. It was all humanistic ideas and concepts.

If you find yourself in need of help, give much prayer and some research, too, before placing your trust in them. So many experts are leading Christians into unbiblical thinking.

As we continue on in this world, the Bible is literally our lifeline. It is where we find our hope, our sustenance, our joy. It is where we are told of our wonderful Savior and where we find principles for living a life that is pleasing to God.

Dedicating ourselves to really knowing it– knowing it deeply and fully–is the first step to living a holy, discerning, peaceful, and joyful life!

 

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [c]instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

 

 

*From Brave Companions by David McCullough, p. 25-26

 

 

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