Taking Stock (Literally)

Every few years I get curious about the origins of things in my home. I’ve taken stock and made a list at least twice before, but it’s been a few years.

The global Silk Road is no joke. How quickly our standards of living, necessities and luxuries, can disappear into thin air is also no laughing matter. What is it that Q personality says? — Where We Go 1 We Go All? Ah (the tower of Babel camaraderie is touching, isn’t it…). Well, in terms of global economy, that’s at least partly true.

As always, there were a few surprises on the list for me, though many are not surprising at all. So, without further ado, the list (in no particular order):

GF Noodles ______ Italy

Spoon Rest ______ China

Freeze Dried Coffee ______ Germany

Thermometer ______ Mexico

Brand Name Shirt ______ Cambodia

Mugs & Tumblers ______ China

Stainless Steel Pot ______ USA

Tea ______ India

Book print ______ China

Laminator ______ China

Toys ______ China

Hair Straightener ______ China

Fancy Hand Soap ______ USA

Brand Name Gloves ______ Vietnam

Notebook Print ______ Korea

Throw Pillow ______ India

Bible Print #1 (newer copy) ______ China

Bible Print #2 (newer copy) ______ China

Bible Print #3 (older copy) ______ Belgium

Bible Print #4 (older copy) ______ USA

Bible Print #5 (older copy) ______ USA

Matches ______ Chile

Boot Leather Conditioner ______ USA

Fancy Lotion ______ USA

Bird Feeder ______ China

Hemp Milk Bag ______ Thailand

Bird Cage Cleaner ______ USA

Jean Jacket ______ India

Hair Ties ______ Bangladesh

Hair Dryer ______ PRC (China)

Phone ______ China

Salt ______ Spain

Colored Pencils ______ Mexico

That concludes my random list.

It’s also interesting to note how some of these things change hands. In my prior lists, I can recall quite a few more products from Thailand and Vietnam. While I no longer have those handwritten lists to compare, it might be fun to do this again in a few years and do just that.

Also, I found it of interest that all of my newer copy Bibles were printed in China, while my older copies came from elsewhere. I do not know if this is a shift that has happened across the board or just within the set I happen to own, but it might be worth investigating… Let me know if you find the same!

I put this in the category of Something To Be Aware Of; it won’t keep me up tonight. I know some of us are already keenly aware of these wide roads and vulnerabilities (as well as the luxury of it historically), but many, and especially the younger, may not be…

Remember, the one and “different” government that will “devour the whole earth” (Daniel 7) of the end days will be one day, as scripture has foretold. Here, I just like to document the signs of the times, the bread of crumbs, leading to that point…

In many ways, just like the Pharisees with Jesus (Luke 12:56), no one will have an excuse for not forecasting the future weather… all manner of denials and delusions, but no excuse.

Gather all the more.

With love –

The Biblical Precedence of Slaughter

‘Biblical precedence’ is the fancy phrase, one sometimes hears the seminary-trained toss up and throw down in debate, that simply means That’s the way it always was in the Bible or That’s the way it was always done in the Bible, etc….

Was there ‘Biblical precedence’ for women preachers? They ask. Thus, the arguments over whether it is Junius or Junia in the list of apostles mentioned by Paul. (Well, it seems either way, someone is in hot doo-doo, if you’ll forgive the lowbrow expression: Adding or subtracting from the Bible is on the list of big no-no’s.)

But the Biblical precedence I want to toss before you today is not about women but about slaughter.

Have you ever noticed that the wicked scheme of slaughtering the innocent always preceded the major supernatural deliverances and D/deliverers?

Right away, if one has been reared in church, two deliverers come to mind: Moses and Jesus. They are often called ‘deliverers’ and both brought deliverance to their people (and Jesus to all people) in one way or another.

Think about it. Moses is born at the time when Pharaoh decides he has too many Hebrew slaves on his hands (and especially strong men). Pharaoh decides it’s time for a purge. Exodus 1 reads:

15 Then the king of Egypt told the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth, look at the child when you deliver it. If it’s a boy, kill it, but if it’s a girl, let it live.”

17 However, the midwives feared God and didn’t obey the king of Egypt’s orders. They let the boys live. 18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives. He asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”

19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women. They are so healthy that they have their babies before a midwife arrives.”

20 God was good to the midwives. So the people increased in number and became very strong. 21 Because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people to throw into the Nile every ⌞Hebrew⌟ boy that was born, but to let every girl live.

Moses, born during this time, is hidden away by his adoring parents for 3 months (Exodus 2), but they eventually have to come up with another plan. So the mother puts him in a basket of papyrus covered in tar and pitch and sends the infant down the Nile.

I know. Every mother clutches her heart about there. Can you even imagine?

Ironically, Pharaoh’s daughter finds Moses in the basket and falls in love and ends up rearing him as her own. Then, Moses grows up to be the deliverer who sets his people free from slavery under the Pharaoh, by God’s hands.

Later in the history, comes Jesus. This time, it seems the Romans are in charge of the world, and King Herod catches wind of another king being born.

What’s this?

Another king!

I’m king! he says.

So, all children under two are slaughtered in a surprise attack —

Only — Surprise! — God has already warned Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, in a dream, so they escape to Egypt (ironically) before the slaughter begins.

Jesus grows up. He is the Deliverer — THE Deliverer –– the one everyone has been waiting for: the Messiah. He brings spiritual deliverance to any who will receive Him. Oh, and what a deliverance it is! — Enough to warrant a New Covenant!

Now, that’s news, good news… but speaking of slaughters….

Today’s Slaughter

Innocent children have been slaughtered for the past 50 years (in our nation, if not world ’round)…

My view may not be a popular one, but I’ve heard a lot of talk about how maybe, just maybe, our nation is turning: Roe vs. Wade being the proposed sign of such a turn.

I very much doubt it.

I’ll be thankful if it is overturned — and good riddance too. The unpopular bit is that I doubt it’s a sign of a heart change in our nation. Whom, for abortion, has changed their mind? Whom, against abortion, has changed? Perhaps, the balance of perceived power has shifted in the Supreme Court, but… from a sociological perspective, I only see the light and dark polarizing further, not coming into agreement.

I’ve been thinking about this slaughter / deliverance thing… and I surmise that it is no different than Pharaoh or King Herod’s edict: that is, I don’t think abortion will stop due to anyone’s good-hearted change of heart.

It will stop when and if it has outlasted its estimated purpose (the wicked’s scheme).

I said it.

You might think that’s reaching until you learn that the Roe in Roe was against abortion. So, you tell me how that makes sense… unless the powers-that-be wanted it.

Which brings us to the next question: What was its purpose? Whom were the wicked and powerful intending to stop from growing this time around?

Because, you can be sure, there was a purpose. There was an idea of someone they meant to stop. Or something they meant to accomplish by the ‘freedom’.

Two witnesses, perhaps?

(If it’s not Elijah and Moses, or Israel and the Church, as some have speculated…)

A specific demographic that was breeding at too fast a pace?

Or for the purpose of the Georgia Guidestones’ mission statement?

(They don’t need abortion now, remember; there’s bio-weapons at play.)

Or is it just more theater? — Meant to point towards a Luciferian ‘savior’, perhaps?

Of course, a Deliverer IS returning; but there’s no stopping Him, and I think they know that… so it had to be something else.

Whatever the case, “…look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).

But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.

Deuteronomy 30:14

Moses nor Jesus appeared on the scene right away after the innocent slaughter. They were both babes at the time of slaughter. So it may be that this is just one more thing to tuck away in your heart and back pocket —

Like “the days of Noah” bit (Matthew 24:37)…

Besides the things Jesus said about it, you do realize that a literal to-spec Noah’s ark has been built in our day? If that doesn’t raise your eyebrows, I’ll be back with duck-tape later to raise them myself…

I just want to make you think outside of the mainstream (and highly propagandized) narratives.

Jaded Much?

That’s some dark speculation, Rose.

Is it?

There’s certainly Biblical precedence for it…

I’m just saying. You’ll have to concede that much anyway. 😉

Kings don’t just come out and say “kill the babies” these days; they have to be more ‘civilized’ about it. They’ve figured out semantics and whitewashing work even better. Why should they do the dirty work if they can get you to kill your own? Nothing has changed. Your world is not more civilized than theirs, friend. That is an illusion.

Anyway. Rejoice if they overturn that unspeakable terror against the unborn; I’ll be happy with you…

But don’t be naive. If it’s overturned, it’s because they have found other means to accomplish their wicked schemes now. You can count on that.

I think some Christians take issue with the word ‘wicked’ being used as a label, but let me tell you, there’s Biblical precedence for that too, friend. The wicked and the fool, neither are your average lost citizen…

And the righteous still rejoice when the wicked perish — and when wicked laws are struck down. That doesn’t change unless you join the wicked in their schemes. Selah.

Stay sane and sober, saints.

Enticing Illusions & Dreams

He was sleeping around and, to be honest, I’m not even sure the women wanted to be there. I was visiting but did not know what I had gotten myself into, as I observed the scene unfolding in the basement…

An old man lived upstairs. He had a long, pointed beard of white and was frail and he made a good deal of noise upstairs bumbling around. The young man in the basement, whom I knew in appearance but not in spirit, was frustrated with the old man and grew angry. It wasn’t long before he decided to take a hatchet and go upstairs to do the old man in; and that’s what he did – to everyone’s horror.

I ran outside and fell backwards into the snowy landscape, frantically seeking a way of escape, frantically asking God for a way out, but there seemed to be none.

That was a spiritual alarm, a dream of warning I had concerning an acquaintance the other night. I have prayed for that young man who killed the man upstairs (You catch my drift?) because he was enticed by illusions of the grandeur of strength and life and his own intellect. I pray that he does not make himself god, as he did in the dream; I pray that Jesus breaks his legs and brings him home…

Broken legs are better than a lost soul, friend.

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!

James 2:19

Do you tremble?

Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; only believe,” to a man who sought his daughter’s healing (Mark 5:36).

Jesus also said, “And whoever does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27).

Even the thief’s belief at the cross was accompanied by a cross, wasn’t it. There comes a point in every believer’s life when belief must be accompanied by a cross — the dying to ourselves and living unto God, in deed and not in word only. In spirit and in truth and not only with lips from afar… still living in the baseness (or the basement) of the world.

I had another dream recently and in it some unknown woman was telling me and a small gathered crowd: “Oh, I believe in God and Jesus; I just don’t worry about morals because, you know, everyone struggles with sinning.”

Her words sounded so nice in the dream. I even followed to hear her for a moment…

In the very next moment, in good dream-scene-shuffling fashion, I was on the verge of adultery with a man I dearly love as a brother. I cannot tell you how that hurt my heart – both in the dream and after.

But I can tell you that the dream was correct in that the unknown woman’s philosophy of life leads exactly there:

That is belief without a cross, which always makes worse-than-demons out of men and women.

a belief that does not tremble is no belief at all, and trembling that does not endure in deed is lip-service alone.

When I woke, I knew the name of the woman leading any who would listen astray in the dream: Her name is Jezebel – as it has always been. Her words make us worse than demons because mankind was created in God’s image; angels were not. Thus, isn’t our fall far more significant, tragic, and deadly?

Crosses

For certain, Jesus wasn’t talking about a lightweight precious metal and gemstone cross around your neck.

For certain, Jesus also wasn’t talking about the dead weight of the Old Covenant either.

So what was He talking about? What cross? Didn’t Jesus die on the cross for us so that we don’t have to? – Isn’t that how most hirelings and more than a few good preachers put it?

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:17

How could Jesus say “Pick up your cross” and “My burden is light”?

Wooden crosses are not light. Burdens, generally, are not light either. In fact, I would say that carrying the Gospel is a heavy burden, a weighty burden; it does not come easily or lightly for all. In deed, for many it comes at great personal cost. Perhaps it’s that we don’t take “I am crucified with Christ” as literally as we should (Gal. 2:20)…

For which one of you, when he wants to build a watchtower [for his guards], does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to finish it?

Luke 14:28 AMP

Well, there’s little need for commentary on this one. Let’s sit at Jesus’ feet. The Holy Spirit is our Teacher, beloved.

Luke 14 (Amplified version):

15When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, “Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is he who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”

16But Jesus said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many guests;17and at the dinner hour he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, because everything is ready now.’ 18But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have purchased a piece of land and I have to go out and see it; please consider me excused.’ 19Another one said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ 20And another said, ‘I have [recently] married a wife, and for that reason I am unable to come.’ 21So the servant came back and reported this to his master. Then [his master,] the head of the household, became angry [at the rejections of his invitation] and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and the lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and the disabled and the blind and the lame.’ 22And the servant [after returning] said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23Then the master told the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled [with guests]. 24For I tell you, not one of those who were invited [and declined] will taste my dinner.’”

25Now large crowds were going along with Jesus; and He turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to Me, and does not [c]hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God]–he cannot be My disciple. 27Whoever does not carry his own cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow after Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me] cannot be My disciple. 28For which one of you, when he wants to build a watchtower [for his guards], does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to finish it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is unable to finish [the building], all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish!’ 31Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one who is coming against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else [if he feels he is not powerful enough], while the other [king] is still a far distance away, he sends an envoy and asks for terms of peace. 33So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not [carefully consider the cost and then for My sake] [d]give up all his own possessions.

34“Therefore, salt is good; but if salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words.”

Dreams

Truth be told, I’ve spent too much time considering and even mourning the costliness of that cross – partly in experiencing it and partly in perceiving it from afar in its various forms. I have no illusions of ease, though I have many times been enticed to follow after my own flesh (base, mortal, earthly desires) instead.

The frightening thing about the parable of the dinner guests is the fact that none of the guests gave poor excuses by our estimation:

A new wife? Well, that makes sense; of course, you’re excused!

A new piece of real estate? Wow! Well, go get ’em tiger!

A new set of hooves? Yep. Better test that out; make sure you got a good deal!

Do you see what I mean? These guests weren’t saying:

Nah; just don’t feel like it tonight.

Nah; I’m binging Netflix right now.

Sorry, God; you know I’ve got these health issues right now…

No, Jesus gave us the real grit of life, the real stuff that comes between us and His call to follow Him – real responsibilities, real obligations, real reputations to keep up.

And that is where trembling begins for me because I know how very real and how very easily these excuses come to us all.

(Of course, that parable is likely an analogy of Israel’s invitation and the Gentiles’ calling in, but many such things in the Bible are cautionary tales that well serve us personally too, if we hear and apply them.)

But what about the illusory and enticing excuses of life, friend? What do you do with those? Are they crucified with Christ, surrendered up to Him, or do you bottle feed them like a mourning woman with a motherless calf? –

If only,

If only,

Just only,

It’s only just,

Only if mine.

What’s an illusory and enticing excuse? How about –

I would, if my husband would. (Passing the buck.)

I’m tired of fighting; isn’t love what it’s all about anyway? (Conceding to culture: the approval of man.)

They’re hypocrites; I’m going to do it the right way. (Pride before the fall.)

You know that hurt me, God; did You send this temptation on purpose to hurt me? (Passing the buck again. God does not tempt us; we are led astray by our own desires.)

But that’s not fair, just, kind, etc… ; if that’s God’s idea of those things, then… (Making an idol of your own intellect, senses, etc…)

Oh, woman… If it sounds like I know what I’m talking about, it’s because I do. And I know the sting of it at the illusion’s end.

Dreams have been part of my personal journey, for better and worse. I consider them a blessing, though they just as often prove a burden. Well, as a friend here likes to say, let me worry about that: You do what God called you to do –

And beware Jezebel. She’s alive and well.

Sanctification Splish Splash

Plaque happens.

Maybe it’s just on my mind because I’m overdue for a dental appointment, but a sort of worldly mental plaque happens too if one is living and breathing in this world.

Time for a bath — splish, splash!

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Psalm 138:8

When my faith falls face first into cowardice: He will perfect that which concerns me.

When things don’t go as planned: He will perfect that which concerns me.

When others abuse or distort my words: He will perfect that which concerns me.

When I have died to all I once hoped: He will perfect that which concerns me.

When the tears of youth become aged dry bones: He will perfect that which concerns me.

When no one else sees or cares or can help: He will perfect that which concerns me.

As many died without seeing the Promised Seed: He perfects that which concerns us.

As many former hopes became God’s patience towards us: He perfects that which concerns us.

Because “Blessed are those who believe and have not seen”: He perfects that which concerns us.

Any time I’ve been confronted with fears and tears over the past few weeks, when I notice the mental plaque starting to harden and reaching like a stalactite for my heart, I’ve thrown that sudsy verse up on my head and worked it to a lather, as other verses follow and the Holy Spirit gently rains down… or springs up… whichever you prefer. 😉

Either way, it’s the splish splash that I’ve needed…

Will He perfect that which concerns you?

You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

John 15:3

…that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…

Ephesians 5:26

Electronic Trees of Knowledge

It’s overwhelming, like a cluttered hoarder’s room, this barrage of information, the downspout satellites of truths flowing from these veritable electronic trees of the knowledge of good and evil. I guess I’ve always sympathized with Pilot’s question because I’ve felt its weight on many occasions myself…

What is truth?

John 18:38

I’ve heard there is a growing movement of people trading smart phones for ‘dumb’ ones, and I would be among them were we not so entangled already for reasons that need not bog down this post. Nonetheless, I understand and sympathize with the sentiment. The electronic tree of knowledge keeps giving; the fruit of it is unending, dripping down our chins, staining hearts, then hands, and, soon, feet…

Out of the same mouth so many declare that they know they aren’t God, while also crying out that no one can judge them. Is it tragedy or comedy?

If you cannot be judged, you have elevated yourself to god-like status.

“only god can judge me”? he has and does and will, friend. count on it.

In front of Pilot, as he asked what was truth, stood Jesus. Many focus on Jesus’ silences before accusers, but let’s remember that Jesus had already spoken truth to Pilot, answering his questions prior to this question laced with measured hopelessness: “What is truth?” There was no need for Jesus to answer it again (as was also true in prior cases). Jesus’ entire life had already answered His accusers, whether they chose (or were chosen) to see it…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1

Canceling Me

Making more of Jesus in my life requires canceling more of me… and the world. I have lost much of a childlike faith. I’ve lost it in the noise of knowing more, being more aware, being that thing called smarter, wiser, and informed. Well, in truth, I’ve lost it in debate with every side of an argument and double-mindedness on every issue. I’ve lost it in the folds of Pilot’s garments: What is truth? On what shall I stake my life?

No one realizes these things aloud in real time, of course. These are hard-earned and retrospective disappointments. That is, don’t pat yourself on the back too soon or too loudly… I suppose we all think we know it in the moment.

I think we admire the children’s faith because as adults we transgress by trusting God for salvation but squeezing Him out of everything else (intentionally or unintentionally).

Academics and skills, talents or appearances take the place of faith;

commonsense-ness and practicalities, work or politics, take the place of praise;

digesting inordinate amounts of information, wheeling and dealing and grasping, to stay informed and, hopefully, make better decisions, takes the place of prayer;

money, attention, growth, and accolades replace the adoration of the Creator with affection for the world.

I’ve stood with Pilot and with Peter in many denials — and that as a pauper and failure in the world’s (if not my own friends’) eyes! How much harder it must be for the powerful caesars and famed socialites…

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

John 17:17

And I have been judged by His words.

Better now than later, friend.

God has canceled my efforts as vain on more than one occasion. He has that right, and He was right every time. I count myself among the blessed to have seen His spiritual handiwork, even when I could not see His hands.

Life

Learning lessons, like gathering knowledge, is not the point of life. Personally, I find anyone making it to the ripe old age of 40 — ehhem, cough — and claiming no regrets a liar or short-sighted (since there is no perfect person). I would take back every sin, every time I didn’t listen to my Father in heaven, if I could: Those life lessons did not benefit me; they robbed me, as that is the devil’s intent, you know…

Tell me, wise one, did any of the Patriarch’s ‘mistakes’, life lessons, sins benefit them? Or did they stand under judgment?

Moses lost entrance to the promised land after many years of faithful service;

King David lost one son to death and another to rebellion, even as a man of God’s own heart;

Solomon, the wisest we are told, may well have lost his soul after building the house of God;

Judas very likely lost his soul and that after walking with, sitting with, eating with, and fellowshipping with the Messiah.

How glibly we treat our own sins today. It’s as if we’ve never known the truth or His words…

Have we minimized our sins by highlighting ‘lessons’?

that’s called whitewashing, dear one.

Truly, when were you last confronted by your own sins before a holy God and, found wanting, in the posture of repentance before Him?

Electric Life

My heart and mind are heavy with the endless assaults of whitewashing, the constant drip of self-glorifying knowledge, shameless pursuits of glory and self-adoration and justification, ceaseless evils, argument after counter-argument, gathering of information without conclusions, and untold follies held, like a piece of fruit, from the tree in my hand.

I was not made an Atlas. Neither were you, if we’re going to be naked and admit to the fig leaves… Most days, it is too much. My days have enough trouble of their own.

Oh, but some would wield that tree of power for good!

I know… Well, I know how many take that path. I am choosing today to walk away from that path. It never seems to play out any better than Frodo and Sméagol wrestling over the fires of Mount Doom; I have seen many tumble from there into regrettable fates.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 Timothy 6:10

I think we can safely replace “love of money” with love of anything more than God and arrive at the same point. Our hearts are deceitful; that’s why we don’t follow them.

I have stood in the line-up, experienced being the last pick, embarrassed myself royally, and watched keenly over the years what befalls those who were picked first, succeeded, and won the accolades of men; I understand how privilege and circumstance, resources and opportunities bested me; I have walked the avenues of hoping, striving, humbling, being angry, depressed, withdrawn in despair and outspoken with criticisms, and I have observed and listened to the reactions, responses, and less careful judgments of my own pained maneuvers.

And I have seen how the mighty fall:

First a gift,

Then a skill,

What a talent!

First comes thankfulness,

Then comes accomplishment,

Soon after, pride.

But this is not the end of the bite:

First heralded prayers,

Then declared callings,

Now, the tasseled and tittled deference:

First me then you —

I paid my dues!

Now you must too.

First secret knowledge,

Then the preference for agreement;

Soon, the whips…

First every criticism comes ‘in the wrong spirit’,

Next every criticism is the failure of ‘haters’;

Soon, every criticism dismissed.

The house of cards is stacked high now:

First, you must forgive my slips,

Then, you must ‘heal yourself’;

Soon, the healthy abuse the sick —

Their sickness is their own fault, after all…

The lies slide easy down the backside of truth.

First the talent,

Then the accolades,

Then the addiction.

First the heartfelt mission,

Then the sideways angles,

Then the deceitful heart takes over, full throttle.

The story of every first begins and ends with pride; very few escape this pattern in repentance. Very few want to be last in this world… and, having known the sting of it, I quite understand. But I also know what it is to fall down; we all do.

Nonetheless, my heart aches over all of the sheep being abused by false shepherds, all of the sheep being misled and tricked by the wolves of the world, all of the sheep I find who have no pastor or leader. Watching the mighty fall in person is hard enough. Watching it on endless repeat online is near torture. Many also fall away into various temptations…

My heart aches over the despairing depravity of the world. Listening to Johnny Depp’s testimony on trial recently was one of the most gut-twisting things I’ve ever heard. We consume so much entertainment while laughing at the slighting of morals, the twisting of behaviors, the strange horror of artistic tragedies, too often neglecting to remember that these ideas, visions, and behaviors betray what is ‘normal’ to the world — most of which should be considered devastating in its hopelessness. Instead, we put lost men on pedestals and forget that they too have a soul for which they must give account one day — many without hope.

I watch the misled gobble it all up, like pigs to the slop, and my heart hurts… And, in some ways, it is a sadness over my own failures here too. Fame has crafted many millstones…

And we all have front row tickets to the spectacle via these electronic trees of knowledge:

Weaker

Shortly, I will heavily neglect (if not close) all of my social media accounts. Unlike the rest of the world, I don’t believe our future is made or broken there…

Likely, I will keep this blog and a small newsletter I send out. I will also continue to work on fiction novellas and novels at home…

These things, my marriage and my children, are more than enough to keep me busy and on my knees.

Yes, I will miss the encouragements I have found online. If we go with the tool analogy, it isn’t all bad. I enjoy seeing my friends and family. I enjoy happy little posts of home and hearth. I will miss these things and, especially, those with whom I’ve worked or been acquainted with in the past whose paths aren’t likely to cross mine again in this mortal world: I will miss the little high fives and hellos from you all.

This retreat is for me, an understanding of what I can and cannot handle — much like the unfriending of some in the past has been for me (not something they did). I feel too deeply, think too deeply, and wander too deeply over such things to run a race while feeling, thinking, and tripping over the whole world’s purview: My own physical terrain is quite enough. If that makes me the weaker vessel, so be it.

I’ll miss the extra photo outlet too, but is that worth remaining online? Not for me… not if I want to reclaim that childlike faith. I find it’s better in life not to know every person’s every thought every day; that alone can be a real hindrance to brotherly love among saints and a hindrance to ministry among the lost. We can all admit that some present as more lovable/salvageable/reasonable than others, eh? We can all admit to speaking carelessly at some point. Still —

If I assume your thoughts (about me), that will change how I behave around you (and vice-versa).

i assume we all know that by now; none of us are online newbs today.

My favorite time of adulthood thus far has been during my past sabbatical from social media… truly. Some of my favorite friendships were formed on the ground there.

Social media and the news flow are inseparable these days (my own posts are proof of that). While, no doubt, I’ll still hear the news, it’ll be on my terms of when and where and how. I am as fascinated as disgusted by the social sphere (hence, a sociology degree). My pitfall isn’t one of entertainment (movies, TV, etc…): I’d far rather watch the news… because, at least, it’s real(ish).

Truly, this retreat is about me.

Illusions of Appearances

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

There are endless standards by which we are all assessed and seen for our appearances — and illusions thereof — online and offline. No matter how good the standard, it is still in the image of the hollow and shallow when it dismisses, denies, or remains blind to what God sees (both good and bad). As none of us see fully as He does, how much more must we remember to be gracious, careful, and deferring to God in all of our judgments of other people’s logs or specks, while remembering that we will all answer to God.

In person, I find this easier to do. Online, it becomes more difficult because we know too much… On the standard of appearances, your sins are as obvious to me as mine are to you. Scary, isn’t it?

For all of our Christian talk of discernment, we more often judge by mortal means. If you’re not sure about that, consider a judgment held against someone; now, consider the reasons you believe that. Are your reasons physical and visible or spiritual and unseen?

Don’t get me wrong: Folly proves itself, as wisdom proves itself. Eventually, all is laid bare. But I speak of the cuffed ordinances of man — that is, the generalized conclusions we draw based on appearances. (Appearances, here, standing in for a slough of evidences, from tangible hair color to visible ideas of ‘excellence’, etc…)

We are none of us what we seem, until standing naked before the Creator.

only then do we recognize the folly of fig leaves.

My general conclusion is that these veritable trees of knowledge do not serve us well. God knew what He was doing when He forbade eating that fruit…

Until we meet again.

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…”

John 6:66-68

Put Your Finger Here

The hardness of the ground, dotted with half-buried pebbles, seems so certain beneath my boots — without give, without doubt, without mercy. As the sun sweetly smacks my cheek and cracks my face open into a smile, that same old toying wind winds its way in one ear and out the other: What if you’re wrong?

I know the Bible says that Jesus was “tempted in every way” common to mankind, yet it’s hard to imagine this one. Was He ever tempted to doubt that His Father existed? Was He ever tempted to forget His origins, His eternal beginnings? It seems common enough, but that’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?

But not so hard for me; I’ve been there. Wasn’t it just yesterday?

Distinction Not Separation

Christianity deals in a lot of abstract ideals. Whether we’re talking about praise as warfare, prayer as power, faith as righteousness, or the inner man being renewed as our outer man perishes — make no mistake: Christianity is a heady faith. “Only believe,” Jesus said (Mark 5:36). And, often, those who’ve learned to salt and slay with these abstract mono-isms oversimplify the spiritual and speak in pharisaical lines between the spirit and the flesh.

Have you noticed the shift in the media-airs recently? (Hang with me. We’ll tie this all together in my abstractly concrete way.) Oh, it’s so familiar… like gaslighting the masses. It’s so great — from a purely sociological standpoint. Worthy of observation in the future textbooks, surely. Suddenly, as if out of thin air, even the ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ are crying foul on all sorts of things that republicans and others have been screaming about for a year already…

We’re tired of the pandemic too, the democrats wane into whining… (As if one can simply decide such things with a virus; you can’t, of course — unless it’s been a charade all along. Oh my. [Real illness; a charade of handling, I mean.])

We made a mistake with Biden, some now admit… (There’s rumors of all sorts of ways they might disappear him out of the way [of approval ratings] floating about now.)

I’ve heard the “legacy media” has even reported one or two things accurately lately… (Well, I am biased; full admission here. Call it ‘expert’ issues if you want, but there’s more evidence in favor of my view — mankind being generally wicked no matter his alphabet soup knowledge — than there is in the terrible, no good, very bad belief that people — and especially smart people — are basically good… Jolly Jupiter just rolled my eyes back down to me; thanks, Jove!)

The useful social abstractions used to sell these former things have lost their usefulness, apparently.

Salt and slay-speak loses something when one finds themselves walking across brutally hard ground.

When you refuse an operation and opt for faith and someone still dies, the abstract falls apart like me trying to do a card trick.

When you shun the very idea of divorce and embrace the hard shards of showing mercy and, later, still end up betrayed and divorced, the abstract provides the poison now linked to your body like an I.V. by the embedded shards.

When you choose to rejoice and get your praise on because you think the rapture is coming ANY. SECOND. NOW., and, suddenly, the media be gaslighting you like there will be a tomorrow after all, the abstract begins to disintegrate your faith because YOU. WERE. CERTAIN… weren’t you?

When you dance and praise and shout down the heavens, name and proclaim and declare all that your heart desires to see, and the hard pavement of Monday morning slaps you back down to mortal size the next day, the abstract suddenly looks silly in retrospect; you wonder what you were thinking, really…

The ground is so hard here that it makes a hard thunk under my boots as I wear a circle around our local playground. It seems so sure a foundation — no give, no doubt, no mercy. If I keep walking, it will still be there beneath my feet; if I give up and lay down upon it, it will still be there with me too; if I begrudge it and fly away to the moon, I’ll still never forget the first time I fell hard against it, robbed of air.

I smile.

I’ve been here before, remember…

And I remember that the physical world is only distinct from the spiritual one, but it is not separate from it.

If I trace the physical roots of the earth back far enough, I soon encounter the abstract absolute: Nothing exits apart from Him, our Creator.

Am I mud or breath? Rib or spirit?

Are we not both?

Whether within the abstracts of worship or the definite of a hike, God’s world and word does not change. And neither does our bodily connection to eternal things.

By faith we understand that the world has been created by the word of God so that what is seen has not been made out of things that are visible.

Hebrews 11:3

But if that which is seen was made from that which is unseen, then that which is unseen is the greater.

Son of God & Son of Man

Too often we let what we see, the hard certainties of our earthly existence, spoil, deny, or distort what God has told us about His kingdom and our being in Him.

…for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

Acts 17:28

Nonetheless, it is true that some take this connection and run violently.

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.

Matthew 11:12

There are differing views on this verse, but I’ve seen enough of spiritually-askew folks to be convinced that it holds a negative connotation (as some suggest). Violent people raid spiritual principles for their own glory and purposes. It makes them a lot of money; it increases their fame. But it is a form of violence against God — is it not?

You cannot separate the physical from the spiritual, though they are distinct from one another. But there is only One Name by which mankind can be saved. That name is Jesus — not spirituality, social justice, signs or wonders, doctrine, safety first, happiness, excellence, peace and affluence, comfortability, a way that seems right to me, the right politics, the right clothing, the right-speak, universal transcendence, government programs, churchianity, the right worldview, your personal pronouns, or by doing as your told (or not).

Only one name: JESUS.

And only one way: FAITH.

The Offspring of God made flesh. Might we say the Spirit clothed in Flesh? The God-man: distinct but not separate the Son of God and the Son of Man.

Salting the Body

For some time, my own growth was stunted beneath the belief that the physical and spiritual worlds were separate things under the premise of Paul’s talks concerning the flesh and the spirit. That is not how he argued it, but that is how I heard it.

You are either of the flesh or of the spirit, I heard, but only under perfect conditions do both ever align…

Sounds like a cool New Age-ism to me. They’ll teach you that you’re only a few mindful breaths and held poses away from this meaningful connection. Well, in short, they’ll tell you there are ways other than faith in Jesus to accomplish such body-soul alignments — right? (I know I’m right; I’ve heard their rhetoric.)

Anyone who has been to a chiropractor knows the value of a good alignment.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:1-2

When dealing in abstracts it’s too easy to fall, like a trapeze artist, into the snare of mental ascent. This is made easier by our American lifestyles and freedoms thus far.

Everything is awesome and you could be awesome too if you’d just salt and slay like me.

– Every mid-to-upper class christian with a sense of earned accomplishment ever

If she look the right way, then she’ll know the right things…

Jackie Hill Perry, Educated Fool

But the truth is that, as God’s child, in Christ, you are already a new creation. Is this not for your spirit, soul, and body?

By the spirit, you’ve been “seated with Christ in heaven” (Eph. 2:6)…

By the spirit, “your flesh was crucified” (Gal. 5:24)…

By the spirit, your life is “now hidden with Christ” (Col. 3:3)…

If you are in Christ, dear one, you’ve already been re-aligned. If you’re waiting on anything it’s that “reasonable service” part quoted above in Romans 1.

God bless the day I realized that flesh and spirit were distinct but not separated in service unto God! That is the day that I found just as much joy in helping a child with spelling as I did in the spiritual ecstasy of alone time; the same day I discovered as much grace in my eating habits as in my praise habits; the same blessed day that I realized God loved me no less when I stared out of my kitchen window crying tears with the rain than when I was on my knees in prayer, dancing to retro tunes with my children, or dutifully taking lunch to my husband.

Present your bodies… as holy and acceptable gifts upon the altar of faith.

When we deal only in abstracts, we tend to 1) neglect bodily matters such as self-discipline or 2) pretend we have no sin by whitewashing everything.

When we deal only in fleshly affairs, we tend to 1) deny the spiritual and unseen or 2) find ways to abuse the spiritual (and fleshly) for our purposes.

Neither is pretty in the end. Neither is faith in Christ.

Northern air is dry. Insanely dry. I repotted my oxalis and left it by the window this winter, but the dirt was soon as hard as rock and my plant shriveled and died.

I keep interchanging my finger between the wind of social currents and the Word of God to discern what is the season. That air is dry too; it’s like a dead lead. The Word of God is hard, line upon line; sometimes I shrivel and my heart falls as dead when He speaks.

“Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to [another] people who will produce the fruit of it. And he who falls on this Stone will be broken to pieces; but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was talking about them.

Matthew 21:23-25

You will fall upon this hard earth or fall upon the Stone: either way, there will be pain…

But how much better to be broken and remade by the Master than to declare oneself a king upon this hard, unmerciful earth!

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

hebrews 4:14-16

Eleven little baby oxalis shoots now wave their wee tri-folded heads towards the evening sun as it drenches through the west-facing window of my dining room. They weren’t there before; I couldn’t see them beneath the hardened dirt. Still, they rose.

How can something so simple, so fragile, just doing what it was made to do bring me so much joy? I think I love this plant most for its very sensitive alignment towards the sun. No matter which way I turn the pot, the shoots align themselves towards the sun.

No matter which way the world’s affairs turn, we should align ourselves with the Son.

The social current, like the pot, is moot really. We come, we go, as spiritually-driven physical contractions befall the world, up and down — but increasing in intensity and timing. Still, one thing remains: We’ve already sold it all — remember? — to secure that treasure hidden in a field…

Is it abstract or concrete?

Yes.

Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”

John 20:27

I Can Save The World With A Single Word, A Single Word…

The first time I heard and saw Flobots’ Handlebars, years ago, left me breathless (both videos) in the audio-wake of its perfect social commentary. Because it’s hard to see the children of yesterday or today as present-day terrorists, conspirators, and world despots. Because we want to believe the best of them — even the ones who began by boasting that they “could ride a bike with no handlebars”. The singing commentary leads you through the progression — from handlebars to holocaust — and tramples your heart and best beliefs in the process. But it hurts because it’s all true.

Do you ever sit and hang your head and wonder how to stop the world from being torn apart in modern-day colliders built by men rooted to wickedness — their money-eyed green leaves flashing their successes at the top like shady towers overhead? How often have you wished to scoop up those left out in the cold beneath the limbs of their warfare?

The more I learn, the more I find my own head in my hands and my own heart bent over in prayer: God… help us. How I would end corruption, exposing all the works of wickedness. How much I desire to heal the hurting, to be there before every suicide, before every killing, to plug the holes with my own fingers and set back time; to hug the lost and pull them away from the edge; to provide for the orphan and widow. How much and how many of us wish we could love the whole world beyond its hurts? The world is bleeding out in every direction addicted to cutting.

Even in my desire to fix the world, and especially in the despair of feeling it is beyond fixing, I return to God’s own heart in remembrance:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

Matthew 23:37

He could heal the world with a single word… but some loved darkness more than light (John 3). Jesus is that Word.

Christ’s work could have accomplished all of these things. His quest was in love, through love, by Love’s command; His goal was the way of reconciliation for mankind to their Creator… but they would not.

If Christ’s perfect work and mission was rejected by many, we must know that even our noblest imperfect works will be ridiculed and rejected as well. The world is a big place. There are a thousand noble missions worth the doing and, once done, a thousand more appear in their place.

The GREATEST work, however, was already done on behalf of this world, on behalf of every soul. And the One “necessary” thing won’t be taken from anyone gathering beneath His wings now (Luke 10:42)… but we can’t save the world.

Jesus already tried that.

Some refuse to be saved by His way. Was it any different in Noah’s day?

Let me say it again: We cannot save the world.

But we can gather.

All the more.

As we see the day drawing near…

There are things to do (read your Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth text), but anyone under the impression that the world can be saved has forgotten that God already tried that — and if they would not all gather unto Him, do you really think you can save the world with your optimistic, declarative, or pacifying words? Not a chance.

I can save the world with a single word, a single Word… but it would not be saved. Call it fate or free will but that’s our reality. From a single command to a single Sacrifice, Eden’s garden to the midnight garden, all of this time passed is the Creator’s patience… and oh what patience!

Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!

For what good is the day of the Lord to you?

It will be darkness, and not light.

It will be as though a man fled from a lion,

And a bear met him!

Or as though he went into the house,

Leaned his hand on the wall,

And a serpent bit him!

Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light?

Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?

Amos 5:18-20

And oh what terror (for some) and glory (for others) awaits when that patience ends…

Therefore, be sober and alert. There won’t be handlebars where we’re headed.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.


James 1:27

Hive Mind: A Counterfeit

…You once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience…

Ephesians 2:2 NKJV

HIVE MIND

META-CONSCIOUSNESS

CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS

MINDFULNESS

VIRTUAL REALITY

What is this strange battle for your mind presently tipping our world at a furiously fast clip? And have you even noticed?

Attention I’m not the first to note — is now the currency of the realm.

UNIFORM COLLECTIVITY

SOLIDARITY

COLLECTIVE KNOWLEDGE

AN INTERNET OF MINDS

UNITY

Where there is no absolute, the society becomes the absolute.

Francis schaeffer, how should we then live? (episode 9)

The ‘prince of the power of the air’ has always been hard at work, but — and like so many under his sway — it seems he is doubling down lately.

You recall the story of the Tower of Babel, of course. Perhaps you’ve also noticed that the language barriers of our world have been pretty well dismantled (in one way or another) over the past fifty years or so — and more-so every day.

And the LORD said, “If they have begun to do this as one people speaking the same language, then nothing they devise will be beyond them. 

Come, let Us go down and confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 

Genesis 11:6-7

(Us? — Father, Son, & Holy Ghost text. Cool, huh?)

Some want us to practice emptying our minds, to transcend what is emotional and mental and simply feel what is or what we might prefer would be (an escape)…

Some want us to merge as one into a collective consciousness, an internet hive mind free of cords, screens, and limits…

Some want us to strive for a collective unity of mind and transcend our differences and disagreements through ‘christ consciousness’ (no legitimate relation to THE Christ)…

But all of these, without question, have declared war on God:

We can transcend this reality without that Higher Being, they say…

We can be as gods.

It’s a tale as old as time regardless of its newfangled trappings and lingo:

The serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:5-6

I return to this passage far more often than I like, yet it seems increasingly relevant.

But what is all of this anyway? What is this alternative reality to which people are trying to escape?

Some will say it’s for peace…

Others say it is for ultimate productivity…

Still more might espouse unity as their highest regarded ideal…

Some say we can craft our own heaven within this hive mind…

Well, if we can do all of that, who needs God after all?

One Basic Blunder

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

2 Corinthians 6:14

Well, here’s your first blunder within these silly and worldly Tower-of-Babel-ly ideas: Light and dark have never played well together.

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

You see, the world will be forced to stomp out all of the little lights who won’t play along in their meta-mind-verse and transgress from the very start their espoused ideals and stated goals.

Unity? Peace? That loving, all-knowing, collective feeling? Not until they get rid of the backwards and anti-Utopian lovers of light (light soon to be renamed darkness in a ‘call good evil and evil good’ fashion, like the 1948 “1984” thing, you know…)!

Oh, you can be sure they’ll make it sound virtuous too. If a middle-schooler can post badly spelled but sanctimonious social soliloquies that influence others, you betcha you can do it too! If Hitler can do it, anyone living in the 4th Industrial Revolution (the battle for your mind) can certainly do that and more! They’ll all agree on it. Well, everyone with the posted mark anyway:

The Posted Mark

(Oh, yes… that other mark too. Ha.)

Down with darkness (light)! Down with darkness (light!) This is 2030 for christ’s sake (they mean Satan, their false savior with his secret knowledge)! Get these archaic obsolete Bible illiterate (Bible adhering) social malcontents (abiding by God’s laws) out of here!

What would it take for you to agree with them?

A guaranteed income and a nice house? Healthcare? That transplant you need? The ability to buy and sell, perhaps? The tramp stamp of approval from those posting the marks of social credibility? A good school for your kids? Food on the table?

I fear many will fall for far less than we currently realize. We have been well-insulated and indoctrinated here in America, saints… I hope I am wrong, however, if 2020-2021 was any indication, the falling away will be worse than imagined. Some were willing to restrict the lives of others over far less last year — with feelings of righteousness and vehemence in ostracizing them.

My how we overestimate human nature! — Ungodly and despicable the lot of them! Without any hope apart from Christ Jesus!

I pray often not to be disqualified after saying such things to you. None of us are exempt from the temptations of the flesh and this worldly life. Not Judas, nor Peter, nor John… and certainly not me. But I aim to peel away my many-layered insulations from the truth as I peel it away for you. It is better that we face the future-scapes of tomorrow today. It gives us a chance to set our face like flint, as so many have done before us. There need not be doubt of future action for the one who honestly assesses his heart today.

Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”

John 21:16

Anyway. The point is that there will be a remnant basically messing things up for everyone. No, they won’t brainwash everyone.

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Matthew 24:24

Hm. Actually, this verse doesn’t exactly make it clear that the elect CAN’T be deceived: It simply says “if possible”… so does that mean it IS possible?

The Mind of Christ

The devil deals in counterfeits and manipulations. As a created being himself, that’s really all he’s got. So, what’s his angle with the mind obsession?

Well, for certain you won’t have the mind of Christ if you’re busy chasing a godless transcendence — in whatever package you prefer.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus… who humbled Himself…

Philippians 2:5

Strange. The Son of God humbled himself, took on human form, came as a ‘bondservant’ to redeem all who would receive Him, and obeyed His Father even unto death on our behalf AND YET His own creation persists — from world’s beginning to its end — in boasting and lifting itself up upon godlike narratives, violently insisting upon equality with God (the opposite of humbling, just so we’re clear).

It’s ironic… and about as subtle as a drill bit to tooth. Painfully vain.

The unity of the saints is not the unity of the world. One is a divine gift founded upon the mind of Christ Jesus, His righteousness, humility, and obedience; the other is the devil’s playground founded upon illusions, manipulations, and counterfeit entitlement.

If you have forgotten who this God is who humbled himself, I highly suggest a slow read through Isaiah 40:12-26. It provides a healthy reminder of His stature.

1 Corinthians 2:16 tells the SAINTS (see 1 Cor. 1:2) that they have been given ‘the mind of Christ’. Just as you were given a temporal body capable of walking, talking, and doing all sorts of wondrous things yet were not born with the ability to do them fresh out of the womb, so too you will have to practice living and moving and having your being (existence) held together within the framework (reality) of the mind of Christ. But your current lack of ability does not mean you have not received this gift; indeed, if you are a saint, sanctified by Christ, then you have it already! The question is whether you exercise it…

Faith is the currency of the kingdom of God. It is by faith that we receive salvation through Christ. It is by faith that we are justified. It is by faith that we wear Christ’s righteousness as a garment. It is by faith then also that we receive the mind of Christ.

How do we use it? I can think of no better place to begin than with James’ precious and thoughtful words:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

James 1:5

The point of the cause of Christ, the point of the mind of Christ is it not to be united and in agreement with our Father? Even as Christ was one with His Father?

But this is not the desire of the world; it is not the desire of those who love the darkness more than the light. The point of their cause is the same as it was back at Babel:

…so that we may make a name for ourselves…

Genesis 11:4

Remember that the Bible was written for those who fear God. When you hear God’s words upon the foreign tongues of the ungodly, remember too that God separated your tongue from theirs (and your heart, mind, and body, etc…) for a reason. The ‘prince of the power of the air’ has no place in Christ.

Let this same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

Woe, Deliver Me: The Contractions of the World in the Last Days

Pictured: The first eternal bump, 2011.

I’m not sure we fully understand the tremendous and sweeping effect technological advances have had in our own lives over the last twenty years nor just how in the last days of the ‘in the last days’ that may place us on the spiritual timeline…

Now, it may well be true that ‘where there is a will, there is a way’ — even if that way means you have to feign some visit from an angelic host yourself or start your own sci-fi religion. Nonetheless, I can tell you that finding a serotonin fix for an idealogical itch was not as easy in the 80s, baby, as it is today.

Back then, we knew what the 5 o’clock news fed us or what the front of the newspaper disclosed from around the world, but we did not see the world then as we see it now — in livestream, round-the-clock, 24/7, clips and bites and clicks and professionalized rants.

If you were born after that time, let me repeat again: It was different then! Your good citizen obligations consisted of voting, paying taxes, paying your bills on time, raising respectable kids, and maybe picking up a stranger for church. If social media has made anything abundantly clear it’s that these are no longer your only good citizen obligations! Far from it!

Did you post your black square on social media when they told you to?

Have you pinned that badge around your profile picture yet like they want you to? (You know, the only ones they provide…? You have to do your own artwork if you disagree with the powers-that-be.)

Have you put up some yellow and blue to stand in solidarity and, thus, showcase your support and awareness of world-wide affairs?

Did you include every possible pronoun (made-up and standard), exception, or caveat in that post?

Did you even fact-check that?

Do you even care?!

Slowly, ever-so-patiently, we have been trained like Pavlov’s dogs… with notifications, bells, tweets, likes, and whatever else they’ve come up with now, to run around salivating and foaming at the mouth about everything — everything someone did, didn’t do, said, didn’t say, believes, doesn’t believe, affirmed or didn’t affirm, etc…

Within the last twenty years this passage has been fleshed out. Suddenly, this requires no inconvenience whatsoever.

Have phone? Will scratch itch.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions…

2 Timothy 4:3

Dear friends, when you can find a priest or minister to affirm nearly any sin in the book, we have certainly met that time a-coming: It is here.

And that wasn’t always so… so easy.

That should be noted.

We’re way past the 90s chat rooms, baby…

“Accumulate” and the plural “teachers” — both imply that there won’t just be one or two weirdos saying what someone wants to hear (yes, THAT much has always been around) but PLENTY of them to choose from (THAT has not always been) affirming whatever you want. Is that not so now? Have you been on YouTube, Discord, or the internet lately? (If not, take my word for it: they’ve all accumulated.)

Serotonin, which is released by your body when scratched, feels pretty nice by the way. I can hardly resist a good itch; I scratch myself raw because of that addictive stuff. Do you get the picture yet?

Every time a notification dings, a pervert gets its wings…

per·vert verb | pərˈvərt | 

[with object] alter (something) from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended: he was charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice

• lead (someone) away from what is considered right, natural, or acceptable.

Evident-ly

Social media, the 24/7 broadcasting of news and world events, and the pressure found therein to become a ‘global citizen’ has changed us — our nation and the world — for the foreseeable future. Even if all of that were removed today, our heads would be left spinning in its absence for all of the skills, truths, and clarity these things have stealthily stolen. Well, for some anyway…

A lot of Christians know about 2 Timothy 3, but I wonder how many take note that we also live in its day — and that this too has not always been.

Have you read it lately? Let’s look at it again:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Terrible times abound. Some versions read ‘times of great stress’. Endless articles on the uptick in anxiety and stress in our nation alone can confirm.

I’m still not sure what part of ‘last days’ people misconstrue (other than to say that all time since Jesus has been ‘the last days’), but… I truly believe that the WHOLE of these verses, taken together with other passages concerning ‘the last days’, have not been true of the WHOLE of our world population — until now.

Again, have you been on social media lately?

Sadly, as Jesus noted, thoughts of the heart become action. And when they don’t, He classified them just as harshly. What I mean is that much of the vitriol and sin that was once relegated only to pages and walls in bits and screenshots has been leaking into our ‘reality’ over the last few years.

Keyboard warriors have become real murderers (BLM riots).

Self-lovers and loathers online have become real criminals (Jussie Smollett).

Those who claimed they weren’t hurting anyone with their perverted thoughts and private actions have become real stalkers, abusers, and traffickers (Take your pick; they abound).

Nothing stays hidden forever. The thoughts and intents of our hearts become our actions… which is why Jesus’ emphasized the importance of cleaning that little ticker. The devices of man in making our intents easier to accomplish have also made the acting out of our thoughts more abundant.

People are lovers of themselves today to a grossly epic degree. In fact, they love themselves so much that they’ll call abuse towards others loving. The general pedophile doesn’t think he’s harming children; he’ll tell you he’s loving them — as he loves himself.

The distortion and perversion of God’s designs is not a harsh and narrow sermon: It is the wide reality staining many real children’s nightmares.

Lovers of money? Boastful? Proud?

Have I any need to point them out?

Those who love money currently run our Disjointed and Fed-up States. Many motives may be at play, but surely this is one of them.

Dare I point out the ministers and priests who have shushed scandal and abuse and tried to make it go away so that they could keep their pride, reputation, standard of living, income, or title? And if the love of money, boasters, and the proud can be found within the Church, you can bet your rainbow flags and hard-earned paid leave time that these things can be found lurking within Fortune 500 labels, with the credentialed, titled, and well-paid.

Let’s skip ahead and speed up a little:

without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…

It’s true that all of these things have existed within the fabric of human beings for a very, very long time — since the beginning. But after qualifying this passage with ‘in the last days’, Paul also qualifies it by stating that ‘People will be’ these things…

Not some people.

Not wicked people.

Not the most reckless people.

Not criminals or outcasts or degenerates.

No, he simply says “People”. You know, in general…

I’m glad he didn’t put an all in front of that; we’re bad enough off as it is with the general populous brand of ‘People’ acting this way.

Generally, this is all true right now.

It is unquestionably true online. How long, I wonder, before it becomes unquestionably true offline? A few more years? After a civil war? In one or two more generations? Whatever the case, it is not far off…

Truly, we live in the last of ‘the last days’.

And the technology of the past twenty years, to a large degree, has helped usher that in, but I think some of us are so near boiling in the pot that our skin has grown calloused: We no longer recognize just how much has changed and how much we have been molded into the image of Paul’s warnings…

Or, well, perhaps we see it in the world but yet think the Christian bubble around us outnumbers them?

It is doubtful, friend. Again, today ministers of every kind (every denomination now) embrace and affirm EVERY SIN IN THE BIBLE and can be ACCUMULATED too. Oh, and so many of them have pretty ‘forms of religion’!

Are you certain you have not miscounted friend from foe?

All The More

Why did the writer of Hebrews say “and all the more”?

Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 

Hebrews 10:25

That “Day” is regarded as Jesus’ second coming or the Day of the Lord, the Day of Judgment (as I understand it from various commentaries).

Apparently, we will “see” that Day approaching…

It’s not meant to be a secret to God’s kids, even if we can’t know the exact day or hour. I believe we will know the season of His coming; I mean, as with the writer of Hebrews, that we will indeed see it coming. And if we recall Jesus’ rebuke to those among Israel who did not recognize the time of His first coming, this should be no great surprise.

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Have you fallen asleep, friend? Do you think this world will continue to go on as it has before, on and on, and that talk of Jesus’ return is mostly just that? — So far off that it need not concern you today? Or just far enough off that you have time for repentance and holiness later?

Dear saints, “The footsteps of the midwife are already in motion…” (John Mark Mcmillan, Deliver Me)

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6

Take note also, dear ones, that technology has finally made Revelation 13 possible.

That capability has not always existed, but it does today, friend.

And the second beast required all people

small and great

rich and poor

free and slave

to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, so that

no one

could buy or sell

unless he had the mark —

the name of the beast or the number of its name…

Revelation 13:16-17

The pandemic of 2020-21 taught us well that all of these things ARE possible already.

So… are you paying attention to the inspired Word of God concerning the times and seasons of ‘the last days’?

Or is that Day just another apocalyptic binge-series you’ve already tuned out?

Stay sane and sober, saints. This is still our Father’s world… but as the world progresses in denial of Him, it will also continue in its hatred of His children.

Jesus already told us so.

The Lion’s Lambs

As the harsh north wind blows the fresh snow and moves it wherever it wills erasing every track, old and new, shall the colder winds of bitterness, anger, frustration, despair, and hopelessness cover over the footsteps of Your every movement in my life, old and new?

When the straight limbs of the heavy winds of hardship are done flailing and thrashing and moving me, will any trace of Your fingerprints remain? When the fresh layers of pain, abuse, and heartache are finally blown clean away or melted, will I find in my heart a foundation of ice or a final resting place — the foundation of You?

Because footprints in the sand are a lovely thought…

Because Your footprints measuring the depths of my circumstances are of some comfort…

But tonight, Lord, I need the unshakeable in my shaking;

I need the unfathomable in my understanding;

I need Your eternal eyes in my mortal eyes’ focus…

Tonight, Lord, I need the Lion… so that I can be a lamb.

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

John 21:15