Our God

“Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord’s message, “I am with you, declares the Lord.” And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.” Haggai 1:12-15. 

Zerubbabel had led a remnant of Israel (about 50,000) back to their land after the 70 years of Babylonian exile and after Cyrus had overthrown Babylon. Zerubbabel, grandson of the former King of Judah Jehoiachin, was appointed governor of the newly constituted province of Judah by the King of Cyrus. The people, after the return, had initially laid the foundation to rebuild the temple but due to opposition from the people that lived in the land (Ezra 4:1-5) they abandoned the effort. They had instead reverted to building themselves luxury houses (paneled indicates the expensive timber used) and making themselves as comfortable in the land as they could. God had subsequently caused the people’s efforts to not prosper. They sowed but reaped little.

The prophet Haggai was sent to the remnant to inform them that God had caused the land to withhold its produce to them until such time as they built the temple. After hearing the message from the Lord the people “obeyed the voice of the Lord their God.” This simple act of obedience led to God “stirring” up the spirit of the people and they proceeded to zealously complete the temple within just four years, even against the opposition.

I am often impressed about how simple obedience to God can produce so much good for us as Christians. It can stir our spirits to great deeds and cause God to bless our sowing with great reaping both materially and spiritually. Most importantly, it allows us to keep our relationship with God fully intact and our life on the pathway he ordains for us with all the settled joy and contentment that results. It is interesting to note that the chapter starts with God’s message to “this people” but once they begin to obey God they are described as working on the house of “their God”. Let us pursue obedience to all of God’s commands so that we can testify to the fact that He is our God.

Reconciled By Christ

“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” Col 1:21-22.

Christ’s death, through His blood shed on the cross, reconciles us to God. Despite the fact that beforehand we were alienated from God and even actively hostile to Him, through faith we are saved (Ephesians 2:8) and our sins forgiven and a relationship restored with God. It has nothing to do with our own righteousness, which is nonexistent, but the fact that Christ’s reconciliation is imparted to us (II Peter 1:4). This allows us, as Christians, to be presented holy, blameless and beyond reproach before God. “Holy” means set apart from sin. “Blameless” means without blemish or defect. “Beyond reproach” means totally without occasion for criticism. Paul was not speaking about our current conduct but about our position in Christ – how we are seen by God to be. We will continue to sin until death, as we have the temptations of our fallen nature that remains, but we have been “clothed with Christ” (Galatians 3:27) and no longer face eternal condemnation (Romans 8:1). All of this Christ does for us – a free gift if we only believe. Those that do not believe in Christ will remain hostile to Him as we see so often in our country and around the world today.

The word “if”indeed you continue in the faith could better be translated “since”. In the original it has the connotation that the writer assumes the condition to be true. When Paul says that God “reconciled” us to Him it is past tense – an established fact that cannot be changed. If someone truly believes, the past reconciliation produces a present faith – true faith always has the quality of permanence. The result of this faith is that Christ presents Believers holy and blameless and above reproach before Him. It is not dependent on our righteous but Christ’s righteousness. Of course, if we are truly Believers we will not desire to sin and when we do will be grieved and confess and repent of our sins and be cleansed from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

How wonderful is the good news of the Gospel! We, whose best outside of God is filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), through faith in Christ have been reconciled to God. What we could not do for ourselves Christ did for us on the cross.

The Dallas Statement

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel (or the Dallas Statement) is a statement of faith, drafted in the summer of 2018 in Dallas, TX by a group of evangelicals led by John MacArthur, in response to how certain evangelicals have drifted away from the Christian Gospel towards a social gospel, the latter being some conglomeration of Critical Race Theory, Cultural Marxism, and Rauschenbuschism (a socialist view of Christianity that desired to produce an utopia kingdom of God on earth). The Statement was a long overdue strike against the false racist Critical Race Theory and other false doctrines that have found their way into the Church. Critical Race Theory is the theory that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist and that race itself, instead of being biologically grounded and natural, is a socially constructed concept that is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of color. It maintains that existing power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color. In essence, if you are white you are inherently racist and always will be, which is a thoroughly racist viewpoint.

The Dallas Statement is a series of affirmations and denials with supporting verses which include the following points:

1. The Bible is the final authority for truth and socially-constructed standards of truth or morality, and notions of virtue and vice that are constantly in flux cannot result in authentic justice.

2. No person is morally culpable for another person’s sin and one’s ethnicity does not establish necessary connection to any particular sin.

3. Political or social activism should not be viewed as integral components of the gospel or primary to the mission of the church.

4. God created mankind either male or female and this is determined biologically at conception and not subject to change. The curse of sin results in sinful, disordered affections that manifest in some people as same-sex attraction. God’s design for marriage is that one woman and one man live in one-flesh, covenantal, sexual relationship until separated by death. There is no such thing as a “gay Christian” as a legitimate biblical category.

5. God created mankind, both male and female, with inherent biological and personal distinctions between them. Though there is no difference between men and women before God’s law or as recipients of his saving grace, God has designed men and women with distinct traits and to fulfill distinct roles. In marriage the husband is to lead, love, and safeguard his wife and the wife is to respect and be submissive to her husband in all things lawful. In the church, qualified men alone are to lead as pastors/elders/bishops and preach to and teach the whole congregation.

6. All races are ontological equals before God. Any teaching that encourages racial groups to view themselves as privileged oppressors or entitled victims of oppression is wrong. A person’s feelings of offense or oppression does not necessarily prove that someone else is guilty of sinful behaviors, oppression, or prejudice.

7. Some cultures operate on assumptions that are inherently better than those of other cultures, because of biblical truths that inform those worldviews that have produced these distinct assumptions. Having said that, the various cultures out of which all have been called have features that are worldly and sinful and those sinful features should be repudiated. No individuals or sub-groups in any culture are unable, by God’s grace, to rise above whatever moral defects or spiritual deficiencies have been engendered or encouraged by their respective cultures.

8. Racism is a sin rooted in pride and malice which must be condemned and renounced by all who would honor the image of God in all people. All cultures, including our own, at times contain laws and systems that foster racist attitudes and policies. Individuals of any particular ethnic group are capable of racism.

Hooray for John MacArthur and the others who came up with this wonderful statement of faith that addresses the sins of racism, homosexuality, transgenderism, placing on some false responsibility for others sins, placing social activism above the gospel, and women leading and teaching men in the church. In this day when many churches are straying away from the Truth it is encouraging to see that 7,000 have still not bowed to Baal (I Kings 19:18), actually almost 15,000 at last count have signed the Statement.

God The Father

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Psalm 32:1-5.

 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:8-9.

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:13-14.

The power of confession is amazing. When we, as Christians, sin God offers us a way cleanse us from all the unrighteousness through confession. Through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross and our faith in Him, we have forever been removed from the penalty of sin but we also can confess our sins that we commit after salvation and obtain cleansing and restoration of our fellowship with God. Confession is defined as an admission, declaration, or acknowledgment. We acknowledge our wrong-doing and turn from it in repentance. To fail to confess after sinning leads to David’s description of himself in Psalm 32 with God’s hand “heavy” upon us in conviction about our sins and eventual discipline (Hebrews 12:6).

Often we do not take the power and truth of confession and forgiveness to heart. Although we acknowledge God forgives sins, we feel like He must be disappointed with us, as we all too often fail, but this is not true at all. I am currently reading a book on prayer, “A Praying Life”, by Paul Miller and he makes the point that God looks on us as we would our children when it comes to our our prayer life and Christian walk in general. We are wobbling and unsteady at times but He is excited when we show progress, however small, just as we are with our children’s first steps. Mr. Miller makes the point that God calls all those who are weary and heavy-laden to rest (Matthew 11:28) not those who have it all together. He well-knows our fleshly frame that we are burdened with so He does not have unreasonable expectations and He is rooting us on to become the persons he beforehand determined us to be (Ephesians 2:10).

The “Believer’s Bible Commentary” puts it this way when discussing John 1:9, “The forgiveness John speaks about here is parental, not judicial. Judicial forgiveness means forgiveness from the penalty of sins, which the sinner receives when he believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is called judicial because it is granted by God acting as Judge. But what about sins which a person commits after conversion? As far as the penalty is concerned, the price has already been paid by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary. But as far as fellowship in the family of God is concerned, the sinning saint needs parental forgiveness, that is, the forgiveness of His Father. He obtains it by confessing his sin. We need judicial forgiveness only once; that takes care of the penalty of all our sins—past, present, and future. But we need parental forgiveness throughout our Christian life.”

As with our own children, when we come to God sincerely confessing our sins, He will lovingly forgive us and happily restore us to fellowship with Him. What a comfort to a poor sinner like me. We are called to a live a holy life as Christ lived (I Peter 1:16), the expectations are high, but God understands the fallen nature that we struggle with and, although He never excuses sin, looks on with pride as we take baby steps forward, falling down and getting up, falling down and getting up. Our Father in Heaven loves us and as a parent is watching us each day with excited expectation.

The Thwarting of the Wicked

Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death. The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. Proverbs 10:2-3.

For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 2:26.

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous. Proverbs 13:22. 

And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians. Exodus 12:36.

I was watching the news recently and saw episodes of the Black Lives Matter hoodlums attacking people peacefully eating dinner, yelling to them that “if you do not give us our stuff (insert curse word here), We will shut this down.” They proceeded to trash the restaurant and run the patrons off in fear. There are other scenes of the same type people looting and trashing and burning buildings and stores in some of the cities that will not let the police enforce the law. This is disturbing to watch but it is comforting to know that the wicked will not find satisfaction in their plunder. Their desires will be thwarted by God. William McCain in his commentary on Proverbs stated that “The wicked are condemned to live forever with their unfulfilled, and so sterile, desires, which cannot be transformed into practical attainment.”

In many cases God even allows the accumulated wealth of the wicked to be kept in reserve for the righteous and find their way into their hands just when they are needed. The most famous example of this is when the Children of Israel were finally let go by Pharaoh after the plagues and God caused the Egyptians to let them have of their riches, anything they asked for. Part of these riches were later used to build the Tabernacle. Also the Canaanites had possession of the Promised Land until the appointed time for Israel to occupy it. Conversely, the one who pleases God will be given wisdom and knowledge and joy, more valuable riches then silver and gold.

The Scriptures point to a moral order in the midst of all the disorder in the world. The righteous will not be forsaken and the wicked will not prosper and will ultimately disappear. “Those who trust in the Lord will possess the land, but the wicked will be driven out. Soon the wicked will disappear; you may look for them, but you won’t find them.” Psalm 37:9-10. God is sovereign and always protects the interests of the righteous. As Christians, we can take comfort in this.

 

Study the Bible With Kelly

I wanted to announce that our own Kelly Foster has started a new Youtube channel, “Study the Bible With Kelly”. The first video can be accessed at this address – https://youtu.be/okN6CWV4Mgo. Simply insert this address into your search to find. Please support this channel for sound biblical teaching and subscribe if you like it.

The Intercession of God

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32. 

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:26-28.

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14.

Shortly after recovering from a pneumonia that brought me near to death last year and also receiving word that I still faced open heart surgery I entered a period of spiritual warfare that I have discussed elsewhere in these pages. At my lowest I was in a dark place, with my shield of faith lowered and the wicked one’s fiery missiles beginning to find their mark (Ephesians 6:16). Just then, God gave me several verses which caused me to raise my shield anew and recover from the spiritual depression I was in.

The first and most important verse was Luke 22:31-32, given one night in the hospital as I was struggling with oppressive thoughts of death and the uncertain future of my health. It came to my mind out of nowhere and instantly extinguished the missiles of the enemy. Right after, the Romans verse came to mind and I remembered that, like Peter, the only way my faith did not fail was that the Spirit was praying for me, constantly interceding so my weak faith would not fail. In fact, the only way I can stand any day of my life is God praying for me, otherwise Satan would sift me like wheat.

I had not thought about these verses in a while nor had access to a Bible at the time I received them but God graciously brought the verses to memory just when I needed them. God continued to give me wonderful verses in the days following and soon the dark time passed and today I have good health (everything did work together for good) but I have often remembered these two verses since.

It has become a great comfort to me to know that my ability to stand is entirely in His hands and not in my weak nature. Satan demands of God to have me and every Christian for that matter, and absent God he would have us to sift. But we can rest in the fact that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of our future inheritance and in the meantime He is constantly interceding for us to help us stand. Praise God!

Set Apart

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139: 13-16.

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4-5.

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone. Galatians 1:15-16.

God began knitting us together from the time of conception in our Mother’s womb. Indeed, He has determined the number of our days even before we were born. He was the One who formed us from top to bottom, personality and all. Before we were born He consecrated, “set apart”, us for some special duty that He created only for us. For Jeremiah is was being a prophet. For Paul, it was to be an Apostle and to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles. For you and me, it could be as a Sunday School teacher, an encourager, an intercessor, staffing the nursery, visiting the sick and shut in, or the one who sets out the chairs and cleans the bathrooms before a church meeting among a host of other duties that advance the Kingdom of God. Whatever God assigns us, He will uniquely gift us for it and give us the talent and abilities to perform it well. It will be an important job He has personally assigned to us. Further, He will give us peace and joy in performing these duties, but will not for a duty He has not assigned to us.

We need to look to God to determine His plan for our life, find our place in the Body of Christ and joyfully fulfill our special purpose He has called us to. “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Romans 12:4-5.

You are set apart for your special purpose. You are called. You are intricately woven, fearfully and wonderfully made!

The Brutish

How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep! The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever; but you, O Lord, are on high forever. For behold, your enemies, O Lord, for behold, your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered. Psalm 92:5-9.

The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:4-5.

Recently we have seen a wave of anarchists attempt (and actually succeed in many cases) to unlawfully tear down statutes honoring historical figures. In some cases they are even tearing down statutes to former slaves or statutes honoring the slaves emancipation, evidentially not understanding whose statute they are tearing down or perhaps not caring in their animal like desire to simply destroy. Most recently, reports have surfaced that the miscreants may next go after Jesus, claiming statues of Him look like a white European which race they despise even though many of them are of such race.

These people are well described in the passage from Psalms above. They are fundamentally stupid and act foolishly. The word for stupid in the passage above means brutish or acting like a stupid animal. These wicked people sprout seemingly from nowhere, like the grass, and flourish for a short time but, like the grass, are doomed to soon be cut down. Lead like dumb animals to works of wickedness the brutes will soon be scattered and they (without repentance) and their works will perish in Hell fire. In contrast, Christians have eternal life awaiting them and, though perhaps suffering persecution for a time on earth, will one day live in Paradise with our Savior.

God will use even the wicked to carry out His plan for the world and for His people. He may even now be carrying out the well-deserved judgement on America that it deserves for its sins and its turning from God’s truth. God has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. But rest assured, these arrogant wicked will not go unpunished.

The Withering Wicked

“Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.” Psalm 37:1-20.

What a comforting passage for Christians in these terrible times for our country with the rioters and murders and anarchists marching through our cities sowing destruction against innocent people and property. It is a wonderful truth that these evildoers will soon fade like the grass and wither away. God, in his mercy, will give them an opportunity to repent, but if they do not their destruction is sure. They may hatch wicked plots and gnash their teeth at us but their day is coming – the Lord laughs at them as He sees their ultimate destruction.

We should simply trust in the Lord, do good, delight ourselves in the Lord, commit our way to the Lord, be still, patient and he will act and bring forth ultimate justice. We are not to be angry or wrathful but leave room for God’s wrath (Romans 12:19). Further, we should not fret over the wicked and their evil devices for the meek and humble, God’s people, will ultimately inherit the land and peace. The arms of the wicked shall be broken – they will go poof, and vanish like smoke.

Peaceful times are just ahead for God’s people, if not always in this life then eternally in the next. Our job for the time being is to pray for and love the wicked rioters (Matt 5:44), but not their wicked deeds. We should hope for their repentance, but if they do not know they will face their ultimate judgement in Hell.

Hydroxychloroquine Study Fraud

The authors of the study measuring the efficacy and risks of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 has been retracted at the request of its authors. It was published last month in prominent medical journal The Lancet.

The authors asked for the retraction because, after questions were raised about the data used in the research, independent auditors were denied access to the information required to verify that data, and the study appeared to have no reliable data. The study utilized data from a privately held healthcare analytics company, Surgisphere, which appeared to be a fraud. It only listed having three employees, two of which included a sci-fi writer and adult content model, neither of which appeared to have any background related to performing a medical drug study.

The study’s authors originally said that their analysis of the data showed that hydroxychloroquine use by COVID-19 patients led to a higher risk of serious side effects or death. This finding had a major impact, shifting the medical community’s hopes away from the drug as a potential treatment for the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and this study was used by the liberal news media to attack President Trump who had touted the potential of the drug.

In a retraction published in The Lancet, the study’s authors wrote: “We can never forget the responsibility we have as researchers to scrupulously ensure that we rely on data sources that adhere to our high standards. Based on this development, we can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.” This news came as doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said Thursday that the coronavirus appears to be weakening as it mutates both in virulence and in its infection rate.

The World Health Organization and a number of national governments have changed their Covid-19 policies and treatments on the basis of flawed data from this study and this has called into question the integrity of key studies published in some of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.

The question arises as to how health organizations could have relied on and touted such a flawed study which used data allegedly compiled by a company whose Chief Executive was known to have had three past malpractice suits brought against him for alleged frauds. A review by The Guardian found obvious glaring flaws in the study. How could our leading health care organizations not have know this before sanctioning and publishing the study which created so much harm and possibly deaths due to the limiting of its use? The answer is primarily due to the leading health organizations being political organizations and, despite reprimanding other persons for not following science, rarely do so themselves if the science contradicts their political views. They wanted to shame Trump for touting the drug and give us another reason to cower in our homes because of COVID-19 and along with their liberal allies in the media and government gain more control over people.

This was further evidenced by over 1,200 prominent health professionals recently signing a petition to not shut down the protests as risky over coronavirus concerns even though there are swarms of crowds with no social distancing. They went on to say that other protests, particularly against stay-home orders, should not be allowed.

Hydroxychloroquine may or may not be an effective treatment for the virus, although it shows promise, but we should put no trust in the politicized health organization’s opinions and President Trump is exactly right to withdraw from the corrupt World Health Organization. Further, we should not let the fraudulent studies and warnings of these health officials keep us cowering at home as they wish but, within the limits of the law and our private doctor’s advice, go live our lives.

Is 1984 Finally Here?

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” George Orwell 1984.

The famous novel “1984” published in 1949 by George Orwell centers on the consequences of government totalitarianism, mass surveillance, and repressive regimentation of all persons and behaviors within society. Much of the world has fallen victim to perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, historical negativism, and propaganda. The Thought Police persecute individuality and independent thinking. Big Brother is always watching.

It is stunning to realize that there are forces at work on the fascist Left that attempt to implement a society in America today much like presented in this novel. Our government has the ability for mass surveillance, which it many times deploys on private citizens without cause, including surveilling members of an incoming Republican administration and attempting to destroy it which had policies the Deep State did not like. Any opinion not held by the fascist Left is shouted down, and demand for apologies and even to kneel down and kiss their shoes in a sign of submission is demanded. There is repressive regimentation mandated by the Left in thoughts and opinions. Historical figures are being trashed and their statutes torn down even though their sins were no greater than the persons tearing down the statutes and their good deeds performed much greater in most cases. The fascist Left Thought Police daily persecute independent thinking or opinions outside their own. Facebook, Twitter and others censor conservative opinions that they do not like while having unique broad immunity from prosecution for the Leftist slander they choose to allow on their platforms.

And then… today as I look in the news 2.5 million jobs were added as the American people go back to work and start recovering from the pandemic. After some initial hesitation, people are beginning to populate restaurants and stores again, in the states that have been allowed to reopen, and noticing that the virus is not spreading more dramatically, if at all, because of the renewed activity. In fact, they are seeing that many restrictions were born of a combination of power hungry leaders that enjoyed their control over the people or just down right incompetent leaders. Either way, the people are beginning to restore the fortunes of their country despite the pandemic and hoodlums, thieves and rioters that, due to their loathsome low self-esteem and wicked hearts, attempt to use the tragic death of George Floyd to go to looting and mayhem that reveals the tenor of the sad, wicked lives they live day-in and day-out. Bullies all, they hope to quell the American people to their demands and obtain power over them but Americans mostly ignore their wicked behavior and recognize them for the fascists they are.

I am coming to see that the miscreants and anarchists and other wicked people both in and out of government actually have surprisingly little control over the vast majority of Americans. While concerned for their country and desiring justice for all races, most simply go about their day-to-day business and, to parrot the Apple slogan, just make America work. Big Brother is watching but is not liking what it sees.

God Is With Our Mouth

“But Moses said to the LORD, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’ Then the LORD said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.’ But he said, ‘Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.’ Exodus 4:10-13.

“And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12:11-12.

God often asks His people to do things that are seemingly difficult for them as He wants to demonstrate that it is His power and not theirs that fulfills His plans. Here at the burning bush Moses, one of the great figures in the Bible, one so close to God that he spoke to Him like a friend (Exodus 33:11), showed a lack of faith. Despite God assuring him of success and giving promises of miracles to assure that success, Moses felt inadequate to the task assigned. Moses was naturally very humble (Numbers 12:3) but this seems more a crisis of faith due to his lack of ability to speak well. God assured him that He had made Moses’ mouth and would empower him to effectively speak the words he had for him to deliver to the Children of Israel and Pharaoh. In the end, Moses continuing lack of faith caused God to assign Aaron as his mouthpiece. Despite that lack of faith, God still was able to use Moses to do great things, delivering His people, despite his lack of faith. This is encouraging, weak in faith as we sometimes are, as it shows that God can even use us to accomplish His purposes, despite our inadequacies and lack of faith. If we can find faith even the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains (Matthew 17:20) because it is God, and not us, that is moving them.

Today, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit that Moses did not have. We are instructed not to concern ourselves about what to say when we are asked to stand before rulers and authorities or others to defend ourselves as Christians, the Holy Spirit will give us wisdom as to what to say. What a wonderful promise that God, as with Moses, will “be with our mouth”, the mouth that He created, to see his plan wonderfully fulfilled.

The Sting of Death

There is a question being thrown out by many in the media today and by others to the effect of how many deaths should be allowed to protect our economy? The question is meant to put on the defensive those that express concern about our national lockdown and keep the country shut in. The correct answer to the number of deaths we should risk, one would think, would be at least equal to the tens of thousands that are killed by the flu each year and additional tens of thousands killed in car accidents, the risk of which we accept to live our lives fully and in other than poverty. We could save these tens of thousands of lives each year if we took no risks and cowered in our homes as some suggest we do now with the Wuhan Virus.

The Spanish Flu of 1918 killed hundreds of thousands in the United States and millions across the world in a much worse pandemic. Although some of the same social distancing measures were deployed then they did not come close to the measures implemented in the United States today. Work in factories, mines, shipyards and other businesses largely continued, despite at least some of this work facilitating the spread of the disease. Some of the businesses were needed for the World War I war effort but also the American people had a much less fear of death than today. Life expectancy just before the war was around 50 years old compared to about 78 years old today. Infant mortality was much greater than today, in fact it was fairly common. People were more familiar with and accepting of death in 1918. Further, and more importantly, people had a greater faith in God and hope of eternal life in Heaven, compared to our post-Christian society today, which minimized their fear of death.

We need to get our country back to work. Our unemployment rate is already similar to depression era levels and will get much worse if businesses are closed much longer. Some experts suggest that up to 40 percent of these lost jobs will never come back. The Wuhan Virus has not proven to be much more, if any, deadly than other flu viruses and not very dangerous to people under 60 without underlying health issues. We can protect the most at risk by keeping them at home for a longer period but at the same time allow most people to get back to work, live their lives and perhaps avoid an economic calamity. Further, we should encourage others to find eternal life in Christ and no longer so fear the sting of death.

God Means It For Good

“So Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come near to me, please.’ And they came near. And he said, ‘I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.’ ” Genesis 45:4-8.

“His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” Genesis 50:18-21.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.

I am always amazed at the exemplary attitude of Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his brothers and falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife being thrown in jail, but at every turn he avoided growing bitter and instead trusted God and thrived. God remained with him, blessed him, and showed him steadfast love throughout (39:21). He became the head of Potiphar’s household, was put in charge of all the prisoners while in jail and eventually became second only to Pharaoh in Egypt. Joseph understood that God had sent him to Egypt for good, even through the evil deeds of others, and indeed he was able to save Egypt and his people from famine. Further, he glorified God by forgiving his brothers and showing love to them who had treated him wrongly.

Romans assures us that, as Believers, we also have the promise of everything working together for good for us, even bad things will work out for good for us in the end. God is in control of all that happens. He is sovereign over all! Knowing this we are free, like Joseph, to forgive those that mistreat us as we know that their evil intent will be thwarted by God.

The Sin Offering

“Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the LORD at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the LORD and use it as a sin offering, but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the LORD to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel. Leviticus 16:7-10.

This ceremony was part of the Sin Offering made during the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year for the Jews. Two male goats were selected by casting of lots. One, representing the LORD, was slain to picture the Messiah’s coming substitutionary death and the other, representing Azazel, was sent to the wilderness to (perhaps) represent the removal of sin, although the representation of this goat is not clear.

What exactly is Azazel? There have been three theories. The first is that it is a combination word meaning “goat” (az) and “shake” or “sent away” (azel), hence the translation in some translations as “scapegoat”. The second is that the word is the place to which the goat was sent; a desert, solitary place, or a high place. The third is that Azazel is the name of an especially wicked fallen angel.

Many ancient writings, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Book of Enoch (not ultimately included in the Scriptures but quoted by Jude and considered Scripture by many of the early Church Fathers), mention Azazel as one of the leaders of the rebellious fallen Watchers (angels) in the time preceding the flood; he taught men the art of warfare, taught women the art of deception by ornamenting the body, dyeing the hair, and painting the face and the eyebrows, and also revealed to the people the secrets of witchcraft. In general, he was said to have led the people into wickedness and impurity until at last he was, at Yahweh’s command, bound hand and foot by the archangel Raphael and chained to the rough and jagged rocks of Dudael (east of Jerusalem) where he is to abide in utter darkness until the great Day of Judgement when he will be cast into the fire to be consumed forever.

Whatever the Azazel goat was a reference to, in this Easter season we can rejoice that Christ came to die on the cross, took on himself our sins, and had His blood shed for our sins. The final Sin Offering has been made and our sins have been redeemed forever!

Fear The One Who Can Cast Into Hell

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:4-7.

Here Christ reminds His disciples that a Christian should not fear those who can only kill the temporal body but nothing more compared to God who can cast a person into Hell, eternal death, and will do so to those who do not repent of their sins and believe in Christ. This is an important message for the Church today which is increasingly failing to preach against sin due to a desire to avoid offending anyone and to a fear of being on the receiving end of the persecution that many times comes from standing for Truth. However, offending someone is immaterial compared to a person spending eternity in Hell. Romans 10:14 reminds us of the obvious – How can one believe who has not heard? We have the responsibility to stand for Truth and inform persons of their sin to afford them, along with the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, an opportunity to repent.

The Greek word for Hell is reference to a deep, narrow glen to the south of Jerusalem, where the idolatrous Jews offered their children in sacrifice to Molech (2 Chr. 28:3; 33:6; Jer. 7:31; 9:2–6). This valley afterwards became the common receptacle for all the refuse of the city. Here the dead bodies of animals and of criminals, and all kinds of filth, were cast and consumed by fire kept always burning. It thus in process of time became the image of the place of everlasting destruction. Hell is described elsewhere in the Bible as a lake of fire. Christ is referencing a terrible place of eternal fire and death and we should do all we can to warn everyone that does not know God. We owe it to them.

God here calls the disciples His friends and this is actually a comforting passage to those who are His. His people will have eternal life and will not face eternal death and this cannot be taken away from them. God forgets not even one of the sparrows he created and he certainly will not forget his Elect. Even the hairs of our head are numbered and we have nothing to fear. That is how much he cares for and protects us. What a comfort! What a blessing! We can revel in His undeserved love for us and carry out the Great Commission of bringing the Gospel to the world no matter the offense, no matter the persecution. That will allow others to escape Hell and spend eternity with God.

Our Hedge of Protection

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 125:1-2.

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. Hebrews 12:22-24.

“When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ He said, ‘Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” II Kings 6:15-17.

It is wonderful to contemplate how, as we move through life on this earth, God surrounds His people with protection as the mountains surround Jerusalem. Jerusalem’s mountainous terrain gave it protection from its weather and its enemies. In the same way God surrounds and protects His people. This includes the nation of Israel but also His Church as shown in Hebrews 12. If that was not enough God also has His heavenly forces to surround and protect us, against whom no power can stand.

We know from Job 1 that God places a hedge of protection around His people and Satan can only get at them with God’s permission and within his perfect plan for their life. We might not be able to see the hedge or the horses and chariots of fire as the servant of Elijah was permitted to do but they are there. There is no power in the universe, including Satan himself, that can harm God’s people without His permission and that should give us great comfort. Like Mount Zion we cannot be moved.

Hearing Our Voice

“I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!’ Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Psalm 116:1-7.

Here the Psalmist had experienced “distress and anguish” and was brought near to death. However, he called upon the Lord to show mercy on him and deliver him. The Psalmist was delivered and was able to return his soul to the quiet rest based on trust in God. He would continue to call on the Lord for as long as he lived for he knew that God always heard him.

An important point to get from this passage is that God always hears the prayers of His people. He does not always answer them as we might like. He does allow his people to suffer and even perish at times, but even the death of His people are precious in His sight (verse 15), and all works for good within His marvelous plan. The ultimate destination for all Christians is to live eternally and blissfully with Him so even death is not a terror to a Christian.

The Lord does preserve the simple (naive), which is really all of us compared to God. Many times, like the Prodigal, we have to be brought low (humbled) to be saved. Further, the Lord is always merciful to us as we never get the full measure of what we deserve. He always deals bountifully with us and we can count on that. He always hears our prayers and our pleas for mercy and answers them righteously and for our best.

Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood

Well over 50 million babies have been killed through abortion in the United States since the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision. Many of these abortions are now performed by Planned Parenthood, an organization formed by Margaret Sanger. Her early days saw her as the publisher of the liberal newspaper, “The Women Rebel”, which boasted the slogan, “No Gods!, No Masters!” The premier issue denounced marriage as a “degenerate institution,” capitalism as “indecent exploitation,” and sexual modesty as “obscene prudery.” In issues to follow, she published articles on sexual liberation, social revolution, contraception, and two articles that defended political assassinations.

Sanger was a leading advocate of the eugenics movement, specifically of negative eugenics, which promoted the reduction of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with undesired traits or economic conditions. She became an admirer of the Nazi’s “race purification” program which performed euthanasia, sterilization, abortion, and infanticide. She wrote books praising the cause of eugenics calling for “eradication of human weeds” and coercive sterilization of “generically inferior races.” Although she had the common racist views of her times her motive did not appear to be elimination of certain racist groups but rather an elimination of “undesirables” wherever they were found. For example, Sanger preferred intelligent, middle class African Americans to illiterate, low class whites.

After the war, Sanger started an organization that eventually became “Planned Parenthood”. In the beginning, the organization was primarily formed to advocate for birth control and sterilization, especially among “undesirable” groups such as “morons, mental defectives, epileptics, illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, and dope fiends” to quote Ms Sanger. To her credit, Sanger was opposed to abortion calling it a “shameful crime” and wanted to cull the “undesirables” through birth control instead. Planned Parenthood begin advocating for abortion law reform around 1955 and only began providing abortions after Sanger’s death – after the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973 as a natural extension of its mission to limit births of “undesirables”, many of which are simply babies not desired by their Mothers.

Planned Parenthood is now the largest single provider of abortions in the country and hundreds of thousands of innocent babies are murdered in the womb each year by this organization. We need to pray for these innocent babies in the womb that God would sear the conscious of our nation and that our leaders would change the laws to protect them and quit funding this wicked organization that also now sells aborted baby parts. There is some hope as several states have passed laws to roll back unlimited abortions if our courts will only rule in their favor. Also, we need to pray for our church leaders that they will preach against these wicked abortions so we can turn from this national sin and avoid the judgement of God.

Trust in God and not Man

“Thus says the LORD: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD.  For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.  Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD.  For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.’ ” Jeremiah 17:5-8.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.  He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water; that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall proper.  The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Psalm 1:1-4.

The one who trusts in man and his strength is indeed foolish.  He will be cursed, not able to recognize good and his life will be like a desert with no substance to it.  The word for chaff above is an Old Testament word picture from harvest time for what is unsubstantial, without value, and worthy only to be discarded.  A man’s life is without value apart from God and these ungodly men will perish in the end (Psalm 1:6).

In contrast, blessed is the man who trusts and places his hope in God, the one who delights and daily meditates in God’s Word.  He will have deep roots which prevent him from being moved, even in hard times, as his trust and dependence on God removes all fear.  His life will always be productive as God will see that it is.  The word for “planted” in the verses above literally means “transplanted”.  The godly are transplanted into God’s kingdom through His grace which produces saving faith.

As Christians, our trust and hope is in God.  We have nothing to fear from life here on earth as God has everything under control and we can trust Him for that.  Like a tree planted close to the nourishing water our leaf will always remain green, even in times of drought, as long as we maintain our trust in God.  Further, our eternal destiny is secure.  Our great hope will be realized.  We will not perish as those who trust in man, but will spend eternity with God in Heaven.

The Season of Peace For Those With Whom God is Pleased

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’ “. Luke 2:8-14 (ESV).

The above verse is one of the most quoted around the Christmas season and for good reason.  It is the wonderful, encouraging announcement of the Prince of Peace, our Savior, Christ the Lord.  Interestingly, many translations render the angels as saying some version of “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”  The translation above is better as the Greek word rendered “goodwill” in other versions has the connotation of “God’s sovereign good pleasure” or better translated “peace toward men on whom God’s sovereign pleasure rests.”  God’s peace is only extended to those who are the objects of His goodwill, the persons who repent of their sins and accept Him by faith as Savior.  It is not an universal declaration of goodwill to all.

This verse is often used to support the increasingly popular but false idea that everyone will make it to Heaven in the end.  The good news of the angel’s message, a coming Savior that would die on the cross for our sins, was for all people but it is important to remember that God only extends His peace and goodwill and eternal life to those that accept Him, those with whom he is pleased.

The Kiss of Death

After pushback from the LGBTQ community the Hallmark Channel has apologized and vowed to reinstate a handful of previously removed LGBTQ-friendly wedding ads on its platform, including a lesbian couple kissing.  Hallmark’s leaders initially decided to remove the ads after the conservative activist group One Million Moms, which represents a sizable chunk of the network’s target demographic, launched a petition denouncing the commercials as inappropriate for a family-friendly channel because of its promotion of homosexuality.  Ironically, the Hallmark Channel styles itself as “The Heart of Christmas” while promoting a lifestyle that is offensive to Christianity.

It is a shame to see our country continue to devolve into increasing immorality.  The LGBTQ community desires to force their unnatural lifestyle into the forefront of our daily lives at every turn.  Even many churches have become afraid to speak out against these immoral lifestyles due to the fear of being seen as having a lack of love.  The lack of pointing out the immorality of these lifestyles actually shows a lack of love as the LGBTQ community needs to hear the clear teaching of the Word of God to save them from eternal torment in Hell.  We should always approach them in love but not be hesitant to present the Word to them fully.

In case there is any doubt about the clear teaching of Scripture against homosexuality some verses are:

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus 18:22.

“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.  For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Romans 1:26.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” I Corinthians 6:9-10.

“Knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.” I Timothy 1:9-10.

“And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day; just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” Jude 6-7.

Those that commit the unnatural and unholy act of sodomy (homosexuality) will not inherit the kingdom of God (Heaven) but rather be judged with eternal fire in Hell, if they do not repent.  The Bible is clear on that and this is very sobering.  We, as Christians, have a duty to show love to the LGBTQ community by presenting the wonderful Gospel message that God can forgive their sins and give them eternal life if they would only repent and turn from their sin.  In the meantime, Christians should refrain from watching programs that support the LGBTQ lifestyle to promote removal of all of the advocacy and acceptance we can of this wicked lifestyle.

Thanksgiving Day

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.  I Chronicles 16:34.

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  I Thessalonians 5:18.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  Philippians 1:21.

Today is Thanksgiving Day and a special one for me.  As I have written about elsewhere in this Journal, I recently came close to death with a bad case of viral pneumonia complicated by a weak heart.  I have now recovered fully from the pneumonia and a long way to recovery after successful bypass surgery.  Even though the last few months were full of trauma and sickness for me I am so thankful that God in his sovereignty has raised me back up and given me more time to live.  I feel keenly the need to use the rest of my life in serving God in a more dedicated way then I have before, a real blessing that has come out of my sickness.

My near death has more often had me thinking about eternity and my mortality.  I am almost 61 years old and at most only have a relatively short number of years before me.  However, a Christian should have no fear of death.  As Paul reminds us, to live is Christ and to die is actually to our gain.  We have no worries about eternity as Christ’s death on the cross has taken care of our eternal destiny for us.  This leaves us free to follow God’s command and give thanks in all things to the Lord, regardless of our circumstances.  He is good and His love for us endures forever.

No matter what problems we may face, including even sickness and death, we know that all things work to a Christian’s good.  That is all things.  In my case, had I not had the pneumonia they may not have discovered my heart blockage before it was too late.  Further, even if I had died it would have been to my gain.  These truths have been such a comfort to me of late and I have been especially thankful this holiday season for my life and even more for my eternal life to come.

A Future Without Condemnation

“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.  Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.” I John 3:20-21.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1.

Faith in God assures a person’s salvation and not our own heart which can deceive us.  As we move through life after becoming a Believer we have moments of failure and sin as we permit our fallen nature to overcome us temporarily.  When this happens we are to confess our sins and God is faithful to forgive us (I John 1:9).  Over time we realize how unworthy of being saved we are and can feel deserved condemnation in our hearts.  However, salvation is a sovereign act of God, thru grace, we could never deserve it.  God is greater than our hearts in the matter of judgement and He accepts Christ’s blood to redeem all our sins – past, present, and future.  Our role is to die to self and let Christ live through us (Galatians 2:20).  The more we live in that light the less our heart will condemn us and the more joyous christian life we will lead.  In the meantime, God pronounces a more authoritative verdict on our salvation than our heart (our conscience), which is fallible and often errs.

A friend of mine recently tweeted – “The Bible is about what God has done for you (His pardon) and not about your performance [for those who believe in God].”  How true.  While our sins will certainly send us to Hell if we die without believing in God and the Bible makes us aware of our sins, the Bible’s primary message is one of hope and grace if we will only submit our lives to God.

There is no future condemnation for Believers who walk according to the Spirit.  These Spirit-filled Believers, who through belief in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross cannot walk consistently in the flesh due to the Spirit’s prodding, will be brought through to the end, their salvation sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise who is the guarantee of our inheritance. (Ephesians 1:13-14).