The false gospels of our time

There is a blindness so insidious that we may believe we are seeing clearly when, in truth, we cannot see at all. This is the Laodicean blindness we read of in the seven Letters to the Churches in Revelation 1-3. Visual Agnosia and Anton’s syndrome are only two types of blindness that are mental impairments. The patient sees his or her environment but either cannot interpret it (VA) or sees nothing and is hallucinating everything (AS). 

Raised on a lifetime of media images constantly shaping our perceptions, we must assume our own blindness may be twisting our version of the Gospel of Christ. Simply put, the True Gospel is, as Paul said, Christ and Him crucified, His Resurrection power to all the saints, and the life-long pursuit of intimate knowledge of Him in order to comprehend His Love for us. He is our Righteousness, and there is no other. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the True and Living God.” His sacrifice grants us this period of Grace, His Grace, to come to Him and be changed. “Be Ye Transformed,” Paul tells us. But we are not changed by our own acts, by doctrine, by a philosophy or a movement. He abides in us and we abide in Him. He is our supply. Accepting the Gospel of Christ requires all that we are, given to Him, because it required everything He is to save us. The Gospel asks for our total commitment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-40).

The seduction of the Church into false gospels has gone unchecked for so long that many people who say they are believers are caught in the trap of false teachings, only they don’t know it. Jesus made it clear. The Gate is narrow. A remnant few find it. Popular doctrines attracting followers and crowds before the pandemic promised great things, but Yeshua Hamashiach clearly contrasts the false gospel with the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that narrow gate  few recognize or find. All salvation– deliverance, fellowship, sanctification, communion, and unity with the Father — comes through abiding in Christ. 

Some call quarantine a “forced sabbatical.” Did your life become narrower? Did time open up that work didn’t fill? Did church teachings from seminary trained professional clergy become hollow, even shallow?Perhaps following the crowd to a popular message is not the way to revelation of who Christ is. Knowing Him is the only way to transformation. But many are selling false gospels like drug companies peddle compounds. They treat the symptoms but never heal the root sickness. Are you trusting in a false gospel? Am I? Here are the 10 most popular false gospels.

1. The Selfish gospel: It is “me” centered. It mirrors what I find important. It offers comfort in success and material goods with my desires at center. God revolves around me: His concern? Keeping me happy. Doesn’t He give me the desires of my heart? My time is spent asking Him for happiness and prosperity. My prayer life is me centered. I don’t pray much for others unless there is a crisis. I am crisis oriented in my own life. Good things in my life I credit to God. Bad things I blame on the enemy, even inconveniences like flat tires or late planes. I often have too much confusion in my own life to pray much for others. I am emotionally driven and have often mistaken emotion for the feeling that God is or isn’t with me.

2. The exception gospel: It is obsessive, most often exclusive, and identity-oriented, meaning it substitutes a worldly identity for our relationship with Christ. It becomes more important, for example, to become identified politically with a group. It becomes more important to maintain the status quo, keep our lives comfortable, or rally supporters for a cause, our cause. My identity as a boss, a professional, a Democrat, a woman, a fraternity or sorority member, as a sick and suffering example, my cultural identity, my nationality, my addiction, my knowledge becomes more important than knowing the heart of God. I am led by my emotion and I become an evangelist for a movement or a poster child for part of my identity rather than a living sacrifice for the Gospel of Christ. I might also be trapped in my past. This gospel often concentrates on Christ’s call to action without a call to repentance.

3. Problem Child gospel: This gospel is problem-oriented. What passes for a prayer life is gossip, complaining, whining, depression, deception, unforgiveness, giving up. I am often negative. I tell people I’m praying but I pray the problem. I rarely consult the Word. I do all the talking in prayer. I use prayer as an opportunity to get people to accept me and my life the way it is. I don’t want change, so I often use prayer as an excuse to showcase my faith but I know I’m not in the will of God. I don’t feel His heart. I am conservative where the power of the Holy Spirit is concerned. I don’t believe the spiritual gifts operate today. I say a lot of right words but I don’t know the Truth or even how God operates in my life today. I have a vague perception that we’re supposed to be growing in Christ. But I’m not growing. 

4. Idol Shepherd gospel: It presents an idol we must bow to or a theology or doctrine we must trust in above, or else equal to, trusting in Christ. Ex: the Book of Mormon, “holy” wardrobe for women, world peace, unity through compromise, praying to saints or to Mary, a human mediator between the believer and Christ, or water baptism as a primary doctrine. However, relationships, careers, anything can become an idol. Sadly, this kind of blindness is hard to beat. The only way to fight it is to hear God, be intimate with His Son, Yeshua Hamashiach, and ensure that someone else doesn’t lead us down a path of error. This falsehood often requires deliverance. Watch out for popular doctrines.  

5. Self-help gospel: It promotes a self-help message rather than the power of God. Under the banner of “best life,” it is based on media portrayals of wealthy celebrity lives, touting strategies to achieve guiltless, consequence-free, imitation lives reflecting the wisdom of the famous in a how-to format as a basis of philosophy. It often mixes various religions, psychology, and philosophy with a nod to Christ’s teachings, easy grace, and reality television. This self-help message has many followers.

6. My Righteousness gospel:  This gospel brings down others to lift up my cause. Disagreements are personal affronts. It is founded on offense. To feel better about me, I have to be seen being better than you. These people are always giving you their resume. They often live much of their lives on social media. They judge everyone around them, holding others to a standard they could not meet themselves. Righteousness is based on their “pet peeves,” preferences, and past experiences or abuse. They are like the Pharisees who thanked God for not making them women. In this case, My Righteousness says, “Since I am not violating my own code, I am better than you. But whoa to you for breaking my code.” Rather than discerning the spiritual warfare around us, we look for groups to blame, encourage stereotypes, and believe hype. The supreme follower of her own righteousness loves to be right. Being right is everything. Most other people are idiots, according to him or her. This is often a reaction to a life spinning out of control. 

 7. The Martyr’s gospel: It is based on paganism. The concept of the Marked Man is very Greek and says that man is singled out to suffer, and those to whom God gives the most suffering are chosen worthy of suffering as God’s will. The Martyr gospel has bestowed upon us the phrases, ” God doesn’t give us more than we can handle,” and “Everything happens for a reason.” Neither of these martyrs’ mantras is in the Bible. All of life’s events are seen as coming from God. God is exterior to me and practically unknowable except for the messages I get from what happens to me personally. He is very busy shaping me via multiple tragedies! In reality, what happens to us is usually the result of our smallest decisions, our blindness, living in this present darkness, and our stupidity. We complicate our lives thru lack of hearing. Rather than blaming God, these people believe they are chosen to suffer. What happens to my loved one is viewed only in terms of how the circumstances affect me personally. Martyrs love the role of silent sufferer, the prospect of winding up as the widow or widower left behind. They sometimes envision the death of a spouse and fantasize about how others will see them “bearing up.” Life is like a movie starring me. How many tragedies can our suffering leading actor face? And they are actors, playing a role. Very little true loyalty. When things get tough, they often bail.

8. Legalism: This gospel acknowledges Christ’s sacrificial death but not His Resurrection. Somehow, He didn’t complete the whole work, and we must add our own works. There is a list of rules to follow that seem much like status-quo norms reeking of conformity, and we are charged to remain in busy-ness aimed at impressing God and others. These people confuse the business of church office and missions with a relationship with Christ. They seem always to strive for a gold star. 

9. Nicolaitan gospel is the basis of the division and distinction between the Clergy and the laity. Clerical privilege is the foundation for celebrity preachers who refuse to live by the precepts they teach their parishioners. This gospel goes against the Bible’s assertion that all believers in the Body of Christ are kings and priests. Paul’s assertion that the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of thee,’ goes against clerical superiority. This gospel was already alive and well in the first 75 years of Christianity, and Jesus hated this error above most others. It is the foundation of countless violations of human will and the justification for everything from cheap grace teachings to sex trafficking.

10. God in a Box gospel: This gospel fails to acknowledge or discern any teaching or doctrine that surpasses what I have learned or believed. This one is popular with ultra-conservatives and ultra-liberals alike. In the name of Jesus, we expect Bible doctrine to fit a mold limited to our perceptions based on our individual interpretation of the Word, cherry-picking our way through the Gospel of Christ. We may ignore Paul’s claim that he spoke in tongues more than anyone in the congregation at Corinth while we assert that prayer language ended at Pentecost. These people often downplay Greek and Hebrew studies while they promote an English-only position in Bible study and in predominantly English speaking nations. Jesus is often seen as White, Anglo, Protestant, Middle Class. This believer would say, “I support doctrines as long as they reinforce the norms that make me comfortable.”

How to Pray for Peace

For when they shall say, ‘Peace and Safety,’ then sudden destruction shall come upon them as a pregnant woman in travail, and they shall not escape.” I Thessalonians 5:3

In Matthew 10:34, Jesus said He had not come to bring peace into the world but a sword. We know this sword is His Word. There is much redefining of the Gospel of Christ since the conforming power and influence of social media platforms. Well-funded organizations with agendas rule the “free” cyberspace once hailed as a liberating force for good.

Now. Jesus is recast as a fighter for social justice, a unifying force for human rights, and a lobbyist for special interest groups. Across the vast vocal spaces, He is cast in a false image: a leader who fights for equality, the dignity of the human race, an example for those who strive to make the world a better place. 

That all sounds good, and there are parts of this gospel which Christ would approve; the problem is that this “gospel” of the brotherhood of man is not His Gospel. The prophetic books, from Daniel to Revelation, predict that men will sell out — sell their very souls — for peace and safety. But this peace will be false, because God is not in it. A false peace is coming. It will seem right since we are being prepared for it all day long, every day. Men’s hearts will fail them for fear. They will accept peace and safety at any cost. There will be no more freedom. 

There is no peace apart from the Prince of Peace, Yeshua Hamashiach, Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Peace must begin with the individual. Finding peace is a spiritual battle. The enemy is the author of confusion. The Bible shows us plainly that “The thief cometh but to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.” 

We keep investing our hopes and dreams in men: lovers, politicians, the mental strangulation of social media “groupthink.” We mock what we don’t understand, share memes without knowing the source, believe whitewashed journalism without tracing the root. We don’t follow the money to special interest groups or billionaires with killer agendas. 

If we pray for peace, we must do so Biblically. There is a peace that passeth understanding, but this peace does not come through policies, political parties or social justice measures. 

Peace must begin with the individual. Here is a way to pray for true peace:

  1. We must throw our agendas away and lay down our lives for Jesus, the Anointed of God. We must allow His saving, delivering power to wash us from the sin that keeps us living in darkness. We must enter the light.
  2. We must recognize the true enemy. Our war is not against flesh and blood. The prince of the powers of the air has come to take peace and create chaos. The angels battle these powers with us. To lay blame is to waste time we don’t have.
  3. We must renounce our idolatry. Much of our inner chaos, fear, and anxiety comes from past baggage we have allowed to attach to us and drag us down like anchors weigh down a ship. No peace is possible while we bow to the idols in our lives. Even seemingly good things can become idols. We can be codependent, seeking solace and purpose in everything that is not God: spouses, children, affairs, material goods, drugs, alcohol, fame, even a platform for truth that brings us an audience that supports our need for validation. 
  4. We must seek out the root of violence, injustice, and upheaval in our communities, recognizing that our greatest weapon is praying in the Spirit. Secret prayer-warfare does not bring attention to the enemy and does not give him room to take more lives and cause greater confusion. Secret prayer-warfare goes to the root under the authority of Jesus in the power of His Word. The enemy operates in organized chaos. If we follow the money, since the love of money is the root of all evil, we can see the truth and lay the spiritual ax to the root. Men with big bank accounts and powerful agendas manipulate images and distort facts. This is a means to an end. We know that this chaos will give birth to a peace movement with false promises of false hope. This fake peace will end in sudden destruction. We must know when and how we are being manipulated. 

Praying for peace means receiving forgiveness for the bitterness and anger in our own hearts. There is a peace that passes understanding, but it does not come to the self-righteous, nor to the offended, not does it come to the proud. None of us can claim that we are right, or pure, or holy, or innocent. We have all put out knee on George Floyd’s neck by allowing the enemy to run wild with deception, oppression, murder, and hatred. In this way, George is a martyr, a sign, a believer who suffocated under the poisonous air we now breathe. 

The Decency of the Holy Spirit

“Let all things be done decently and in order.”I Corinthians 14:40

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” I John 4:1

When my husband-to-be announced he had signed up to join the Air Force, he was still in high school, and I had my first year of college under my belt. We planned to be married in June. I had been so busy planning the wedding that I had not begun to think of how his decision to join the Air Force would alter our lives. But I soon found out. No sooner had we married then he flew out to Texas for basic training, and I was without him for several months. 

In the meantime, I went to work for a friend of my dad’s; this was a family we had known for several years. This man was founding a church, and I became a part of a prayer team and Bible study that helped to found the church. This man, a scholar, pastor, and excited Bible student, believed strongly in the events of Pentecost. He believed that the Holy Spirit held the key to power in the Christian life including victory over the sin-cycle, the realization of ministry vision, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the evidence of those gifts: speaking in tongues and miracle manifestations. 

By the time this church met regularly in my mom and dad’s new house, I was married to the airman and moving around the country. Although our parents offered to help us, we did not receive monetary help from them. We were destitute, but somehow we survived through each move: from Biloxi, Mississippi, to Sandwich, Massachusetts, to Alamagordo, New Mexico, we drove for miles, on the move almost constantly. Everywhere we went, we soon discovered a revival was in full swing, a charismatic renewal that had begun decades before this new wave. 

My first encounter with the gifts of the Spirit was at a Bible study. A female airman had been miraculously saved and delivered from drugs and a life of sexual addiction. She invited me to a Bible study in a well-to-do suburb. 

I had trouble finding the house, and when I first walked in, a few minutes late, the woman leading the study stopped, looked me in the eye, and said these words: “When you don’t know what to do, it is okay to do nothing. In fact, you should lie down and do nothing until you hear from the Lord. The devil is a used car salesman. He will put pressure on you and make you think you have to do something. Better to be still. Make a small target. Be still and listen. You don’t have to do anything today.”

She could not have known that my marriage was less than 1/2  year old, and I was already struggling in it. My husband was a critical, tyrannical narcissist. I had not seen it before the marriage, but now, he bragged about being in charge, bragged that being a tyrant was necessary, criticized most everything I did and said. I had not been prepared for this kind of psychological warfare. I had no idea what to do. I kept trying to please him, but nothing made him happy. He went for days in deep depression not speaking to me. 

We were miles from home, and I had no one. One day, I was exercising and trying to find something to watch. An evangelist was speaking about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. This was the power to live the Christian life that Paul the Apostle had spoken about in his epistles to the Church Body. I asked the Lord to receive this Baptism. I received my prayer language. I began to know things I shouldn’t know. The Lord was dealing with me. He guided me to take a vow against drinking alcohol. I did not drink much at all, but this was more of a dedication than a deliverance from drink. I began to sense that He was setting me apart. It felt a lot like the sanctification Paul speaks of that follows the Born Again experience. 

I had heard that in some tent meetings, people had been “slain in the Spirit,” a time when each individual collapsed, lost the power to stand under the power of God, and “went out,” unable to move. By the time I returned home from the Air Force, the new church was underway, and I was involved in a music ministry. 

God taught me quickly that not all who claim the anointing of His Holy Spirit are true. There were counterfeits. As believers, we were taught to “try the spirits” to see if they were truly of God. As John says in his epistle, “For there are many false spirits gone out into the world.” 

An evangelist came to our town, and our music group was asked to perform for the revival. A tent soon stood on the grounds of the newly purchased church building. This man was somewhat well-known regionally, but when we first met to discuss the music for the first service, this man touched me inappropriately. I soon went from zero to sixty on the anger-meter, and I began to have serious doubts and a deep confusion, given that this man was said to have a strong anointing. 

One night, we had finished our final song. I had my car keys and stood ready to leave. I lingered a bit too long and found myself in the prayer line. People were being touched and falling in the Spirit. But I noticed that he put a bit of pressure on their forehead. He touched them physically. I was very skeptical of this manifestation, and I was certainly totally distrusting of this evangelist.  I called out in my Spirit. “Lord, don’t let him touch me.”

When this evangelist got to me, I knew immediately that the Lord spoke to him and told him not to touch me. The minister put his finger in front of my forehead but didn’t touch me at all. I suddenly went out, my body giving way to a gentle release. I collapsed and did not want to move, totally bathed in a peace, love, and total surrender that is hard to describe. I saw a white fountain with red roses climbing it and a crystal-clear river running from the fountain. I could have stayed in that place all night, but I willed myself to get up after 20 minutes. I was soon sober and strong, and I drove myself home. 

I tell all of this so that those reading will know that there is a Baptism in the Holy Spirit; there is a Charisma; the Charismatic Movement was a real thing that began with earnest people seeking the Lord, seeking to know Him more deeply, to live the Christian life with more power over darkness. 

But, in these Last Days, we are told that seducing spirits, a spirit of anti-Christ, and demonic powers will infiltrate the church, performing false miracles, freakish manifestations, and Satanic impartations that are part of the occult now operating in the full light of day in the Body of Christ. The Bible expressly advises, “My people perish for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). I am very concerned that so many today do not understand who the Holy Spirit is, and so I will attempt to convey His character, so that no man or woman will be deceived by these seducing spirits that are deceiving many. 

In John 17:20, Jesus prays for all those who will come to the knowledge of Him through the ministry of the disciples. In John 14, we learn that the Holy Spirit is sent unto the Church in the role of Comforter. In Acts 1:8 and John 14:26, Jesus explains to His disciples that they should wait until the Holy Spirit falls on them at Pentecost and that this Holy Spirit, sent by the Father in Jesus’s name, would act on Jesus’s behalf, “teaching you all things,” and providing the power for Christian mission. John and Paul convey that the Holy Spirit is not only a Helper and Comforter, but He is also an Advocate, Counselor, Strengthener, and Standby, sent to help the Body of Christ live in the Resurrection Power of Christ on Earth. 

There are people running around today, many of whom fly on Jets and have the ear of Presidents and religious icons, who use the teachings on the gifts of the Holy Spirit not only for money and fame, but also to allow Satanic manifestations and impartations, which are endangering the lives and souls of the followers. Heidi Baker, Paula White, Todd White, the Toronto Blessing, and events in Minnesota, MIssouri, and Ohio have proven that lying, seducing spirits rooted in occultic practices are putting many believers in harm’s way. I am convinced that many are seduced easily because they do not know or comprehend Jesus the Messiah, Yeshua Hamashiach, nor do they understand the role of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He does not push or pressure. That is Satan’s domain. Pressure, deception, and lying signs and wonders accompany Satanic manifestations. When we try the spirits, we must know the authentic Jesus to recognize the counterfeit. 

Jesus never operates without Divine Purpose. Jesus often said in the Gospels, “I only do what I see My Father do.” Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and the lustful followers always seeking after a sign. In Egypt, Janus and Jambris, the sorcerers under Pharaoh, performed every miracle God allowed Moses to perform . . . until the rod of Moses, having turned into a serpent once again, ate the other two serpents conjured by the ministers of darkness. The Bible teaches that we are caught up in a supernatural warfare, and the powers of darkness come close to deceiving the elect of God. The role of the Holy Spirit is to help us discern, try the spirits, and to lead us into all truth. 

That’s why it’s so troubling for me, as someone who experienced the authentic outpouring of the Eighties, and as someone who has operated in the gifts of the spirit, most especially the Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, and prophetic gifts, to see this fake movement driven by Satan himself. 

How can we know whether a church group is operating under the power of God or the power of Satan. 

Simple. 

The Holy Spirit is the power of Christ for sanctification, deliverance, truth, love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, longsuffering, meekness, temperance, and all the fruit of the Spirit. If we are trying the spirits, we must not receive anything that does not meet this standard. We must not go into a meeting seeking signs. We are to seek Jesus. 

The Holy Spirit is the humble servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is Christ’s Spirit on Earth advocating on behalf of the true Body of Christ. In John 17, Christ explains that He is in the Father, in complete Unity, and the Body of Christ is safe in Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Father is YHVH. There is no pathway to YHVH, God the Father of the Old Testament but by Jesus, Yeshua Hamashiach in the Hebrew. Allah is not the same god. All religions are not the same. In fact, Jesus was not a religious figure, nor was He the start of a religion. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Messiah. 

The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. In the manifestations of Heidi Baker, Paula White, in the events surrounding the Toronto Blessing and other such unruly “services,” there was much rolling around in the floors, uncontrollable laughter, unspecific “impartations,” which are extremely dangerous, people running around, and generally out-of-control mass behavior. None of this is Biblical. In some cases, there was suggestive and even sexual dancing, and in a few, nudity. These are NOT signs and wonders directed by the God of the Universe. The Holy Spirit does not operate in this manner. Everything He does is for a purpose, to bring individuals to the Way, the Truth, and the Life, which is Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Seeking after signs will only lead to this kind of fakery, and unfortunately, some “ministers” are making a fortune from the ignorance of those who do not know the Bible and do not seem to want to become intimate with the Lord Yeshua Hamashiach. 

God is Light. He can have no fellowship with darkness. But Satan himself appears to the unsuspecting as an angel of light. He was the shining one in the Garden of Eden. Deception is his long suit. There are demonic spirits, and they often “cry out,” “act out,” calling attention to themselves to draw crowds and distract believers from worshipping God. New Age and occult practitioners are trained to “impart” certain “archetypes” and “dark powers” through incantation and laying on of hands. Paul, the Apostle, only advocates laying on of hands for prayers of healing and that is best done by veteran believers, “the elders of the Church.” Sadly, Most Churches never made room for the Holy Spirit in the Church Age, and that is why we are in the midst of fakery, where unsuspecting followers can be seduced by darkness itself. 

There are such things as “familiar spirits.” Many people who never experienced the role of the  Holy Spirit as Counselor are now listening to lying spirits and familiar spirits masquerading as ancestors, spirits who have “crossed over,” angels, saints, and even some who mimic the Holy Spirit, giving false words of knowledge and prophesying factual “dirty laundry,” uncovering the nakedness of followers who revel in gossip and sensationalism. Real prophetic word is scriptural — but here the lying spirits lie in wait to deceive, twisting a few words in the Bible into something that does not fit the context nor does it line up with the whole counsel of God. These familiar spirits speak easily with familiarity about our lives, speaking to the problem, speaking to our fleshly desires, even speaking to our dreams, without root in the Word of God. 

The Holy Spirit does not need anyone else’s permission to come to you. If you truly hunger and thirst for more of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will meet you, just you, in your hotel room, in your home, as he did me. It is the same for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as it is for salvation. “Blessed are those who  hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

It has been well over 30 years since I wandered into the Bible study and heeded the words of the woman with the word of knowledge for me. I now operate in that same gift. But I do not take it lightly. The gifts of the Spirit are not for entertainment. They are not to be sought for themselves. Only the Holy Spirit calls one to serve in this manner. No one, I repeat, no man or woman, can “impart” any gift to you. You can seek it, but that does not mean God will give it to you. You may desire prophecy, and He may call you to missions, or to the helps ministry. He may call you to intercession. Others may go, others may prophesy, and you may stay home and pray. None of these gifts of the Holy Spirit are intended to glorify man. They are not to glorify the flesh, nor are these gifts sensational highways to fame, or paths to success and wealth for the “minister.” 

The Bible speaks in many places of a great “falling away” (2 Thessalonians 2) and a great apostasy (the Book of Jude) that will come into the Body of Christ in the Last Days. In fact, the Apostasy is the last event before the revelation of the Antichrist system and the Mark of the Beast system that is already rising in the Earth. God has promised to spare His Remnant His wrath in the Last Days, but, tragically, those swept up in lies will not be spared. 

In John 17, Jesus prayed for us. “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from evil.” 

Jesus knew that lying spirits would imitate Christ’s power and produce a counterfeit movement. We must learn to test and try the spirits. We must know the source of those whom we follow. We must read the Word and understand how God operates and how He does not operate.  

If you desire more information, please contact angelbread2020@gmail.com

You are Here. (Part One)

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The Hebrews called manna “What is it?” But most of us don’t have a clue what we want — or need.

I met a man who got used to wearing hospital ID bracelets. At first, he fought them, hated them, even feared them. In time, he became acclimated, started making his own bracelets. When I met him, both arms were covered. They hid the pock marks of picc lines and constant IV sticks. His culture became bracelets. Owning what he had once feared, he lost his fear.

I met this man at a donut shop. I had developed an extreme chemical sensitivity after Lyme Disease had compromised my immune system and turned me into an invalid. I had been avoiding everything inflammatory, everything bread and bread-related, yeasts, sugar, corn syrup, msg, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, chemicals, and preservatives, just to keep functional. As a result, I was five years symptom-free, but only if I didn’t cheat.

Since discipline went against my very nature, this did not come easy.

Still, I turned down 99% of the menu.

The Bracelet Guy had just lost his wife to cancer and wanted to buy a round of donuts for the staff and patients at the oncology clinic. He, too, had cancer, but it was in remission.

“My mother swore off having any more children after me,” he said. “Then, my brother was born. We all loved him and teased him for being the baby and for, pretty much, being an afterthought. But when I needed a stem cell transplant, my little brother stepped up. He was a perfect match. He saved my life.”

At the end of the counter, a man was sitting next to a pretty woman at a laptop computer. She was looking at a spread sheet. The man said, “My business partner got a kidney because she bought a pumpkin patch,” indicating the woman on the stool next to him.

“What?” the man with the bracelets asked.

It’s true, “ the woman said. “The Lord told me to buy a pumpkin patch. So, I did. People started coming, and in a brief time, I met the woman who gave me a kidney.”

Manna is what you need when you need it.

The Hebrews called manna what is it.

But most of us haven’t a clue in the world what we really need.

Or want.

I was at this point in my life. Who would show up to give me what I needed, when I had no idea what that was?

Why would someone else know what I couldn’t give to myself?
The Denny’s at the corner of Hasato and Grande in Portland, Oregon, is a wormhole where nothing matters anymore. And that’s a good thing. It is a warm place with faces that change, some regular, some strangers on appointment. It was Richard, a native and Vietnam Vet, who gave me the heads up about the space between chaos and silence, where a person can be alone in peace, where the vibe is low frequency, and the wait staff is like an ER for brokenness, the constant coming and going like rehab. These are all-night kinds of places where the coffee’s good and hot and the people who frequent there forge a bond not unlike family. These are strangers you wind up telling your secrets to, and so, when people began to ask me for my name, I thought about lying, making something up on the spot, because sitting there at the corner of Hasato and Grande, I couldn’t believe in the person I had become back at home.

I knew the answer to my unspoken question, but I was afraid to hear it.

Back home, I existed in a kind of limbo, like a cicada I once found stuck to a tennis ball, sitting in his shell: immovable. I was stuck in about three kinds of grief, and the thing about grief is, it’s a living thing. It will move in and eat you out of house and home.

It will steal your dreams and make your soul brittle and dry.

It is an addiction, and you can give it all your time, and still, it is never enough.

My brother died, and twelve months later, my husband told me he wanted to live alone.

He chose to tell me on a day when I went blind in my right eye.

The whole thing was very Greek. I was blind, and then, smack. Revelation.

I had been living in a carnival. They were pulling the tents down. I had not had the sense to go home. Leftover cotton candy at the bottom of the cardboard handle told me the jig was up. Still I would not let go.

And so, grief came, asserting itself as my new compatriot, my cruise ship director and master of ceremonies. Grief stole the light of life, painted rooms with gray haze. Grief was a fake friend and the bottomless pit at the end of my day.

Back in 2018, I had to explain to my brother that he was dying, that they were all out of moves and it was checkmate. People came and went in the hospital room, wearing the same hopeful expression I now wore in the closing of the business of marriage. And now, I had to explain to myself that my marriage was over, that I was now 0 for 2, that my legacy for the rest of my life could very well be surviving — alone.

I was not obtuse enough to try and stop it, but I was naive enough to try and understand it.

People make decisions. I tried arguing with God. I complained that I couldn’t put my marriage back together because my husband didn’t want it. He had plans of his own. He had made a decision. I couldn’t reverse it. I just had to accept the consequences.

I felt in my spirit something sigh. I knew it was the Holy Spirit.

“This is how it feels, isn’t it?” I asked God. “When we decide not to love you. When we go our own way.”

Human will.

For that reason, we should never judge a divorced person.

Because God doesn’t cross us when we divorce Him.

There is not just one divorce; there are many, and they come daily. We have divorced God many times.
Grief is a chain-smoking, pregnant woman blowing smoke in your face to assert her right to destroy the life within her. You can’t reason with Grief. You just want it to go away, but it won’t. It’s attached like a drunken friend continually asserting his love for you at the top of his lungs. He calls you at three in the morning.

Jeez, Grief, shut up, why don’tcha?

You’re gonna wake the dead.

But there is nothing as alive as your own grief for something or someone dead or long gone.

Grief demands to be fed. Cake at two in the morning or maybe the covers pulled over your head.
To keep going is both heroic and robotic.

This keeps changing. Each day I felt differently about it. I was even different people on different days. Reduced to a character actor because Grief is the star of this show.

The Bread of Life is the stuff of life, the everyday source for living, breathing. Paul said we live and move and have our being in Him. We are continually supplied through the Body directly from Yeshua as our source. In Him, all things consist.

But we can buy bread of our own choosing, chase after strange gods to salve the hollowed- out place grief has made. Often those gods are closer than they appear. Grief is not an Adventure. There are no desperate adventurers. The desperate seek the illusion of safety. Often those closest to us enable us to continue stumbling in the dark.

At my own tipping point, what I most needed was being defined for me. I had grown dependent on the way things had always been, but leaning on illusion had set me up for losses, making me deaf, dumb, and blind. You never see your losses coming, but Grief is always there to take you through the darkness. And if we’re not mindful of the force of our grief, it’s intimate association with Death itself, Grief will move in and become our constant companion. We will live for it and give everything for our need to hold on to the way things used to be.

“The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” There are some things that are lawful, but they are not Godly.

At the corner of Hasato and Grande, the last morning I drank coffee handed to me from the Denny’s wait staff, I happened to look up in time to see a truck backing into a dock across the street. The word “Thrive” jumped out at me in huge letters.

That was the problem on its face. I was surviving Grief. But thriving was another matter.

It was high time I looked into that.

 

 

 

 

The Marked Man

If Truth is Eternal, it makes sense that the Eternal would create a message system capable of maintaining the integrity and consistency of the message across thousands of years.

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I am an English Literature major with a few years spent studying Greek. My passion is words. I love studying the languages of the Bible, the original Hebrew of the Old Testament and the form of Greek that characterized the New Testament. I never understood the “English Only” movement; all language is history and culture, and English contains most other languages in some form or another. I know people who elevate the King James Bible above all translations. It is an authentically rendered, poetic translation. I, too, read only the KJV when I want it in English. The sheer number of words and phrases missing from many of the modern versions of the Bible is frightening. We can see a time soon to come when there will be no Bible as we know it.

However, just as disconcerting are the number of times the English gets it wrong when it attempts to render the Greek or the Hebrew.

English is lacking. That’s why it is so rich and full of figurative language. We need it. There’s no way around it. English lacks precision. That’s why we go to the Greek and Hebrew. I’m not trying to explain away the Word or justify my beliefs; I simply love the layers of meaning the original languages bring to the party.

Hebrew has more in common with the periodic table than it maintains a resemblance to the English language. Hebrew letters have shape, phonetic sounds, numerical values — and each letter has a story. But that’s not all. Hebrew words are made of building blocks. The idea is that we consider each letter of a word — each story — which creates layering and deepens the meaning. For example, the word “Truth” in Hebrew is מים  

Truth is an open letter, “mem,” the vowel, and a closed letter “mem.” The form of the word is plural, indicating waters, as in the fount of waters, or rivers of living water.

“And the Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let him that heareth say, ;Come.’ And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17

The combination of Hebrew letters forces us to connect God’s Truth with the Life of His Spirit and the Purifying holiness of His Word. If we understand the way in which the individual letters blend to reveal mysteries, it is difficult to return to a secular way of looking at “my truth,” or “your truth,” semantics for the philosophy of relativism. The Hebrew meaning of “Truth” is something holy, God-breathed, limitless, and eternal. This is not the way we understand truth in society. We don’t learn it this way in school. We treat truth the way we treat art: we say it’s subjective. Abstract. No one can know the truth. We dabble in moral relativism, basing our concept of the truth on our feelings or circumstances. Or on what we had for breakfast.

We don’t like the idea that Truth does not move or change shape just because we want it to. It creates discomfort to understand that Truth is a well-spring of pure-running water, a fountain that washes clean. A family member used to say, “The Truth will stand when the world’s on fire.” I would add that the English language lends itself to more polarization and fundamentalism than Hebrew simply because English lacks the precision to express the depth and complexity of interactions Hebrew and even Greek can convey easily.

Think about the English word for Love. We have only the one word. People love their trucks, say they love their spouses or significant others, claim to love flavors of ice cream and certain celebrities. The Greeks had multiple words for love. Eros, Agape, Philadelphia. Erotic, devoted, and brotherly love. Sex, commitment, and bonded friendship. Our limited language limits our ability to understand the deep things of God. English literalism has created ignorant doctrines built on one-dimensional ideas that don’t begin to communicate the length, breadth, width, and height of Christ’s love for us.

Hebrew and Greek letters had numerical values, mainly because letters preceded the Arabic number system. For centuries, people have attempted to interpret the literal meaning of 666, the number of the Son of Perdition in the Book of Revelation. It’s important to understand that the number, 666, is not merely three sixes but six-hundred, sixty, and six. Each of these values is represented in letter form in the Hebrew and Greek; each of these values tells a story, reflecting the prophecies given from the Book of Daniel, Matthew 24 and Revelation 13.

The Greek letters associated with 666 are X, or Chi, the first Greek letters for “Christ,” which is why Xmas was used in antiquity for the word “Christmas.” Xi , pronounced “ksi,” means “foreigner,” or stranger, but a form of xi appears as the first letter in  Ksustron (ξῦστρον), swords fixed to Persian chariots. Xi also begins the Greek words for “surgical knife,” scythe, and incision. Stigma is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet. Stigma gives us the word “stigmata,” an incision, tattoo, or mark. It is true that pagan religious cults used such brands or marks to show devotion to gods and goddesses; soldiers were often branded, not to mention slaves, who bore the mark of ownership and identity.

The most famous “mark” was the mark of Cain. Cain asked for God to “mark” him against the lawlessness that came into the world after the Fall. Cain was afraid that his own relatives would kill him to avenge Abel; therefore, God put a price on his head in reverse; God said He would avenge Cain seventy-seven times if any man laid a hand on him. Cain was identified as belonging to God; although Cain refused to repent, he was marked for safe-keeping to spare his earthly life. Some scholars believe the mark was a Tav, which makes the sign of the cross, an early pattern associated with redemption since the Hebrew children were told to make such a pattern with blood on their doorposts to spare them from the Egyptian plague on firstborn sons.
To add to this, in Hebrew 666 is Mem, Samech, Vav. Mem signifies the gestation period of a woman, echoing Matthew 24, the birth pains or time of sorrows. Vav is a man standing between Heaven and Earth signifying the Messiah, or, in the Last Days, possibly the counterfeit or anti-Christ man promoting himself to this position. Samech is symbolic of cycles, as in repeating cycles, and a wheel within a wheel (roulette?) of history, as well as festivals and nature. We see forerunners of the Antichrist in Nero and other emperors, King Solomon, and Adolph Hitler. Put festivals of natural world together with cycles and we get pagan festivals. Revelation says the Son of Perdition will change the times and the seasons. The unifying one-world religion may celebrate originally pagan festivals as observed by Roman Catholicism, Islamic Holy Days, Hindu observed days, and possibly even Jewish festival days.

The Greek letter, xi, was derived from the Phoenician letter, “Samech,” which means fish. Both Daniel and the Book of Revelation tells us that the Man of Perdition will rise out of the “sea,” symbolizing the Gentile world.

Remember that “Vav” gives us a man as mediator. Jesus was the Mediator and High Priest of a New Covenant purchased with His blood to redeem us. The Antichrist will offer a covenant promising “peace and safety.” The Book of Revelation, Matthew 24, and the Book of Daniel all tell us that  this “peace and safety” program is only a a means to give power to the world ruler, and that he will betray Israel at the 3 1/2 year point of Daniel’s 70th week, the Seven-Year Tribulation Period, even as he is forcing humanity to take the “mark” as a means to buy or sell.

Technology has now caught up with the Books of Prophecy in the Bible. High-tech corporations in China and the United States are developing ID chips intended to identify everyone on the planet. The possibilities are endless: credit scores, vaccinations and medical history, social media scores, social media postings, telephone calls and texts, bank account numbers and/or credits (like e-wallet or bitcoin), internet search history, police record, travel, purchases, religious affiliations, chat groups. Nothing will be hidden from the eyes of this world government.

Jesus reminds us in the Gospels that “narrow is the Way” to salvation, and “few there be that find it.” The path to destruction is broad and well-populated. There is always a remnant saved out of the anguish of souls clamoring for survival. We have popularized conformity, banished dissent, made groupthink alluring. But the Apostle Paul tells us that conformity is death. The Truth is not as simple as we have been led to believe. There are not two sides; there is no us versus them. That is mere distraction. The Truth will stand when the world’s on fire.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2-3). 

We will likely have to make decisions soon about how much we will allow the government to own our bodies and our lives. People have been talking about the “mark of the beast” for years. In the Nineteenth Century, many tried to debunk the Book of Revelation, saying there was no way everyone on the planet could see the Two Witnesses assassinated and resurrected. Now, we know that the whole world can see any event via satellite. The technology of the ultimate branding, the identity system that will bind citizens of Earth to the Son of Perdition and the Beast system, is here.

It is easy for so many to dismiss the Bible as a book of fables; however, we all believe in fables. Anything is a religion if we worship it long enough. A love interest, sports, drugs, celebrities. The most stubborn god is the god of self.

The Books of the Bible are in the canon because proper scholarship was done to determine integrity. This integrity is not limited to authenticating place-names or carbon dating scrolls. There are hidden codes and messages throughout the Bible. In the Age of Computers, great mysteries are now revealed in the Torah. The idioms of the Bible don’t change. In Genesis, manna falls from heaven. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “I am the Bread of Life.” Jesus is born in Bethlehem, literally translated, “House of Bread.”

If Truth is Eternal, it makes sense that the Eternal would create a message system capable of maintaining the integrity and consistency of the message across thousands of years. But don’t take my word for it. Study the Word of God, opening your ears, your mind, your heart to the Voice of the Holy Spirit.

“He who hath an ear, let him hear.”

The Quietest Pandemic

When the fever left, I soon realized I had other problems. I wondered if I had brain damage from the fever. My thoughts spun around my head in fits, falling out in random “dumps” like a computer going to blue screen. CALL SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR.  I went for indeterminate amounts of time having no thoughts at all.

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I was once challenged to write a piece entitled, “The day that changed my life,” and so, I decided to write about my experiences with Lyme Disease. That article would be more effectively titled, “The arachnid that changed my life.” Given the size of the tick compared to the measure of the damage it caused, the miniscule creature ought to be stuffed and put on display in the Smithsonian, or, at the very least, in a Museum of Curiosities as one might see on the side of the highway proclaiming NOAH’S ARK AUTHENTIC GOPHER WOOD NEXT RIGHT.

To say the Spring of 2012 was a hot one would be missing the point. It was something out of the Seven Plagues of Egypt. I met the arachnid in question in the garden while I was planting corn. The corn died in a series of hateful acts of vengeance, vegetables in the hands of an angry god. Extreme heat followed by hail finally culminated in a deep freeze. Every tiny, hopeful, corn stalk died a horrible death, as did the garden after that. But I digress.

I found the deer tick, but not before he’d bitten me. However, I didn’t find the nymphs, a fancy word for seed tick, a term I learned on the internet, on which I spent a lot of time “researching,” for which I would be chastised later. An article I read stated that nymphs carrying Lyme Disease hadn’t made it as far South as the Carolinas. Scientists wandered the forests of the Mid-South for days dragging nets to catch the nymphs and didn’t find one carrying Lyme.

It is possible they didn’t check their jeans.

All I needed was a bag of fertilized seed and a standard gardening outfit:  blue jeans and a t-shirt. I got two Lyme-bearing nymphs the first time out. Rest assured they are pretty far South, as I found mine in my backyard in South Central Tennessee.

I didn’t find the ticks for a day or so.  The bites were small, like flea bites, with a tiny black center.  There was no “bulls-eye” rash.

About seven weeks later, I felt the wrath of the microscopic nymphs. I got a fever at work and don’t remember much about the days following, because my temperature soared to 105.

My brain fluid swelled so that I couldn’t lay my head on a pillow. This was a problem, since all I could do was lie in bed and pray for the sun to go down.  I had a migraine 24/7. I was dehydrated. I felt like I was already dead, splayed on a lonely highway in the middle of the desert with the vultures circling. A favorite author once wrote, “Reality is a dry, dry mouth,” and that’s how I felt. Despite constant nausea, I experienced epic hunger. I wanted whole pizzas, but when food came near, it repulsed me. The food I did manage to trick people into bringing around my bedside repulses me still. There’s a commercial for a chocolate ice cream bar that gives me nightmares to this day.

My fever raged. I was alone, and I was glad. I wanted to die alone. Once a terrifying thought, it relieved me to think that I might manage to slip away quietly without a fuss.

When the fever left, I soon realized I had other problems. I wondered if I had brain damage from the fever. My thoughts spun around my head in fits, falling out in random “dumps” like a computer going to blue screen. CALL SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR.  I went for indeterminate amounts of time having no thoughts at all. The migraine stuck around for a few more days. It left after prayer. I was sitting out on my front porch freezing in eighty-five degree temperatures, and after my mother prayed, the migraine left, and I was down to Everything Else, which was a long list, but manageable, because the symptoms rarely hit all at once.
Everything Else came one at a time, and it kept on coming.

Everything Else was a formidable assortment of complaints. I soon grew tired of giving the run-down of Everything Else to the doctors.

I knew I had Lyme Disease. It didn’t take a medical degree to link the tick bite, the incubation period, and the onset of the super-high fever. The problem was getting the doctors to agree on what Lyme Disease was, how long it should last, and what treatment was appropriate. My doctor at the time chose to wait until the test for Lyme came back to prescribe drugs. Unfortunately, in a miscommunication, her staff told me 1) The tests hadn’t come back 2) The tests were negative 3) The tests hadn’t come back.  Several phone calls later and a second office visit (my mother had to drive me) revealed the truth. I had actually tested positive for Lyme, way back, like, right after I came in the first time, on the ELISA test. She had called in a prescription for doxycycline, (I learned this from Walgreens years later) but my doctor kept telling me to wait for the tests. They never phoned me with the happy news. I ended up going nine weeks from the date of the tick bite without antibiotics. I had a nine-day run with the meds, and then, I was on my own.

Where to start? There was “brain fog.” That was fun. I would try to do the laundry and ruminate over how to fold the clothes, meaning I would seriously “stew” on it. I would mix up everyone’s garments. I forgot to turn the burner off when I tried to cook. Something as simple as taking food out of the refrigerator turned into a challenge. I would start to do something and lose the steps. I would forget I had a phone number programmed into my phone and get frustrated needlessly searching for it. I often experienced Bell’s Palsy, a condition in which the muscles in the face ache and then go numb. Speech is slurred or next to impossible. The face of the person with Bell’s palsy lacks expression. The whole lack of intelligence thing was detrimental to a high school English teacher, which I was. Of course, work, for me, was a thing of that past, because thinking was more like wishful thinking. I just couldn’t.

Then there was the so-called arthritis. I had all-over body aches on such a scale that it hurt just to shift position on the couch or turn over in bed.  In truth, it hurt to merely sit. I couldn’t do the dishes, because I couldn’t lift them. I had to ask my husband to open everything from cans to water bottles, even something as simple as a bag of shredded cheese.

There was pulsating pain. My joints would burn and freeze alternately. There were tingling sensations, the feeling that bugs were crawling under my skin (pretty ironic) and in my brain. I experienced dizzy spells, vertigo, and a feeling of heaviness in my muscles, like I was walking through a water tank. Sometimes, the room would darken. My vision would “gray over,” like a sudden overcast sky. Other times, I would see spots. I was often overwhelmed with fatigue, a sudden need to sleep, and I would sleep, for hours. Still, I would awaken in pain or with the creepy-crawly sensation in my head, feeling as though I hadn’t slept a wink.

But that wasn’t all. My lymph nodes and glands swelled, in my neck, behind my knees. My face became puffy and red. My appearance changed. I could hardly recognize myself in a mirror. My face resembled a large, swollen cracker left in the soup too long. And I was in the soup.

Doctors soon began telling me the “good news.” I no longer had Lyme.  Whatever residual symptoms, you know, Everything Else, was Something Else Other than Lyme. This Something Else, undefined, just happened to strike at the same time as the Lyme Disease that was now gone from my life. Mission Accomplished! Why wasn’t I celebrating? I didn’t have time to seek out specialists for Everything Else, the giant list of symptoms which seemed to grow rather than stay under the “cured” column like good little symptoms, because I had to go back to work.

The severe joint pain, not to mention the vertigo, meant I couldn’t drive. This is a problem for someone trying to earn a living. I missed twenty-one days of work, and when I returned, my husband and my mother had to alternate taking me to the school where I taught. I felt like a pre-teen still dreaming of getting her license, wishing her mother would drop her off at the curb, so as not to be seen by her friends. I worked the final week of school before summer break, finished up the nine-day antibiotic round, and started feeling better. That was May 25. By the tenth of June, I couldn’t move. For seven days, I rarely got up from the couch. My six-year-old son has memories of playing cards with me in my bed, of dragging the chess board over to the couch so that I could play, of reading books to me while I was in and out of my right mind. When his teacher asked him to draw a picture of his family, he drew one of me in bed with my big, blue comforter. I couldn’t help but wonder at how history repeats itself. When my dad got cancer, I sat up with him on the couch, and we watched hours of the Watergate hearings. He couldn’t get off the couch either. To me, the couch became a watermark showing me how deeply illness, and the couch, had swallowed up my life.

As the mother of a six-year-old, there was no way to wallow in bed, so I got up and moved. I walked in the park, walked around at a tractor show, only to wake up the day after with my joints screaming, my lymph nodes swollen, dragging my muscles along as if they’d atrophied overnight. Some mornings, I couldn’t lift the big, blue comforter from my body. Things I once did easily were now part of my past life. I couldn’t play guitar, and yes, I played rhythm and wrote songs on a Fender Stratocaster, an easy-playing guitar with small gauge strings I now couldn’t pick up or strum. I could barely write and not legibly, which is a problem for a free-lance writer and a teacher of literature. I couldn’t wear most shoes, because my toes hurt so much.  I couldn’t hold a book to read it or an actual glass to drink from it. I could barely type on my computer keyboard and not for long without the pain in my fingers stealing every ounce of creativity I might have had.

By late summer, I experienced constant pain in my hands, knees, and toes with flare-ups that manifested unpredictably in a variety of spots. I couldn’t sleep, often waking up dozens of times throughout the night in severe pain after merely changing position or adjusting a pillow.  Doctors told me I had developed a new disease apart from Lyme that was causing my “new” symptoms. They posed various theories. Thyroid trouble? Polymyalgia Rheumatica? When you don’t know what to call it, go to the Greek and Latin like a biologist making up a name for a newly discovered species. Lupus? Gluten intolerance? Multiple Sclerosis?  Who knew? I got “The Speech.” It began, “There’s a whole culture, a community of people who claim to have chronic Lyme Disease, but there’s no proof that such a thing exists. I would stay away from such unscientific discussions.”

But I did read the internet blogs. Avril Lavigne contracted a debilitating case of Lyme. Darryl Hall of the old rock band Hall and Oates wrote of contracting “Chronic Lyme.”  Doctors in California connected Autism to mothers who contracted Lyme while pregnant. California doctors treated Lyme with several rounds of antibiotics, all without going to jail. Hundreds of people blogged away, breaking down their lifetime experiences battling the disease known as The Great Imitator. Even Web MD verified that Lyme can cause permanent damage, including arthritis and neurological damage, if the patient goes  two or more months without antibiotics, which I had.

When I finally met someone with Lyme, it was like discovering a soul mate. My husband brought him to the house to talk to me. He had developed Lyme in Missouri, moved to Tennessee, and found another Lyme-carrying nymph here. When the antibiotics didn’t kick all the symptoms to the curb, the Missourian looked to diet and vitamin supplements to fill in the gaps. He ate meat and vegetables only, took B-vitamin supplements, and walked a lot. He went to work whether he felt like it or not (and this guy works on tractors in 100 degree temperatures) except for the worst episodes, which usually lasted only a day or two. But, he admitted, he had received antibiotics in the earliest stages of Lyme. Nobody I knew had gone as long as I had without treatment.

One doctor told me that it might be a matter of patience. He said the episodes might diminish in length of duration and in intensity until they disappeared completely.

So, I pressed on, waiting for the symptoms to subside. Every month, I spent days out of work. Sometimes, I couldn’t go a full five-day work week.  I had many of the old symptoms all over again. My lymph nodes swelled. Bell’s Palsy struck. The bugs crawled, my joints ached, parts of my body ran hot and cold. And then new symptoms appeared.

Right after Christmas, nearly ten months after the tick bite, I began to experience tremors. One night in November, my right shoulder moved in a jerking motion, violently. It happened again just after Christmas Day. About the same time, my right index finger moved by itself over long periods of time. I tried grasping it with my left hand, but it didn’t stop the motion. This episode went on intermittently for three days.

Contrary to one doctor’s advice, I looked on the internet for links between Lyme and Parkinson’s. I discovered that Michael J. Fox was bitten by a tick and diagnosed with Lyme while working on the set of Spin City. Although he was told to rest, Fox continued working and not long after was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Something similar happened to my favorite singer, Linda Ronstadt. Hmmm. I learned there were two schools of thought: One was that Lyme unmasked Parkinson’s or somehow sped up the onset. The other school held that Lyme mimicked Parkinson’s and PD was a misdiagnosis, in some cases, for patients with Severe Lyme. One doctor admitted the link between Parkinson’s and Lyme was real but very rare.

There was, and is, a fair amount of conflicting information on the internet when it comes to Lyme.  I read that Lyme is not fatal. I also found a number of links to Lyme support groups where people traded information, shared their suffering, and posted funeral arrangements. Parents claimed their children had died of the disease. I had not heard about these cases, certainly not in the news media. In fact, my own experience had taught me that the phrase Lyme Disease was best uttered in a whisper. Better to find Something Else as the Primary Cause, otherwise, nobody wanted to get involved. Facebook pages featured hundreds of comments revealing personal struggles with Lyme, tips on gluten-free diets, mineral supplements, videos, prayer requests, fears, and grief.  If Lyme is an epidemic, it’s the quietest one I’ve ever seen.

That’s likely because no two doctors, regions, or countries agree on how best to treat Lyme. In the UK, doctors prescribe long-term antibiotics. In the U.S., the Lyme vaccine got canned in the Seventies after several people sued the drug company claiming they had achy joints. Currently, there is a Lyme vaccine for dogs but not for people. Dog owners claim it works great.

The Lyme test most used is known for false negatives. There is much confusion about the symptoms of Lyme. Some doctors still tell patients that Lyme sufferers always present with a bulls-eye rash. In truth, according to the CDC’s own website articles on the subject, only 40% to 60% of cases present that way (mine didn’t). Lawsuits and revoked medical licenses for over-prescription of antibiotics in the U.S. have most doctors avoiding new Lyme patients like the proverbial plague. Some doctors play semantic games over diagnoses like “Chronic Lyme” as opposed to “Severe Lyme,” to try and squash the idea that Lyme “keeps coming back.”  Dozens of patients and doctors report that Lyme has been misdiagnosed as everything from Multiple Sclerosis to Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Meanwhile, children go without the protection a vaccine could provide, even though scientists proved there was no basis for plaintiffs’ claims of serious side effects.  Today, no pharmaceutical company is willing to make the vaccine except for pets. Doctors who treat Lyme with long-term antibiotics are scrutinized by the AMA and the CDC. Not long before I contracted Lyme, a North Carolina doctor was jailed for treating his patients with long-term antibiotics.

Several medical specialists tried to help me.  I saw a Vandy rheumatologist who told me I did not, in fact, have arthritis. The disease of old age had been the diagnosis of choice for most of my doctors, most of whom were younger than I and assumed that since I was over 40, I should just lie down and die. When I pressed the Vandy rheumatologist for what was wrong with me, he said it was neurological, likely caused by bacteria. Something, he said, had crossed the blood-brain barrier.

That was as close to an official diagnosis as I would get.

I was told by a Vanderbilt-trained infectious disease specialist that Lyme-bearing ticks could be found in North Carolina but not Tennessee. When I asked how they knew to stop at the state line, the woman had no answer. At that point, I realized that I held the key to my own healing. I did my own research and began a mostly organic, chemical-free, and gluten-free diet.

But the most important part of the healing process occurred when I stopped defining myself and my life in terms of the disease. In George Orwell’s 1984, the lesson O’Brien tries to teach Winston can be summed up this way: “We believe in the reality with which we are presented.” A first, the disease became the new normal, until I realized that I had accepted this. After the Missouri pep talk, I changed my diet and went back to work full-time on faith alone. God knows I could hardly get out of bed in the morning, and I still had waves of fatigue. I could barely summon the strength to go to the grocery store. I was not convinced I could survive teaching senior English to at-risk kids and do it successfully.

What I didn’t realize was how many people were praying for me, many of whom didn’t know me or didn’t know much about the situation. One night, there was a knock on the door. A woman from my son’s school, a teaching assistant who helped in the cafeteria, brought her entire youth group to my house. They had an old fashioned “prayer quilt,” the kind where a string is pulled each time a person prays. All the strings had been pulled. In other words, for the sixteen months I’d suffered, they had been praying and, as the saying goes, “pulling strings.” People in the community who knew me went out to their respective churches and asked for prayer for me. My youngest child’s karate class prayed for me right in the studio.  His master teacher told me about the bacteria killers, honey and cinnamon, and I went home and drank the stuff regularly in gallons of tea mixed with frankincense.

I dropped twenty-five pounds, started walking and doing yoga, and continued adhering to the gluten-free diet. After seventeen months suffering from the pain and debilitating effects of Lyme Disease, and only weeks after the prayer vigil at my house, I began to experience stretches of days without pain. After a few more weeks, the fatigue left. I was no longer blindsided by waves of weakness. My speech changed, meaning the words in my mouth. I no longer went around talking about my symptoms or the latest visit to the doctor. I stopped chasing a diagnosis, affirmation of my suspicions, or proof of my own sanity. Yeah, I had Lyme Disease, but there was life after Lyme, okay? Fuhgedaboudit.

At work, one of our precious teachers had died of breast cancer. There were worse things, all right?

One day, I realized that I had given Lyme no more place in my life. It was dramatic, but I was so busy living that I almost didn’t recognize the healing that had taken place. It was like Red said in The Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” I was living out I Peter 2:24, “By his stripes, ye were healed.” The healing had already happened. I had accepted Heaven’s view of the situation in the full light of what Jesus had already done. This was the key.

I still had no idea the extent to which prayer had gone out on my behalf.

My cousin in Maryland received healing from Lyme in a hands-on full-out healing service years before I contracted the disease. In a prescient moment, a church member prayed that Maggie’s family would be healed from “something that has followed your family for generations.” Before the first symptom hit me, someone had prayed that I would be healed from whatever condition makes my family genetically predisposed to Lyme’s autoimmune response.

Still, I’m convinced that if I had stayed on that couch and listened to my body, I would be dead or something like it. But I had no interest in a zombie kind of life, and I learned it wasn’t God’s plan either.

I learned that faith is a lot of walking out on ledges in dense fog. I had to learn to “see” differently.

That was the turning point.

Losing Your Life on Purpose

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“For every one who tries to keep his life will lose it. But he who is willing to lose his life for My sake will find his life.” (Matthew 8:34-38)

For years, my gospel was exactly that — mine. It was cobbled together from self-seeking people who stood behind pulpits and lecterns, or from film, books, and other media, voices demanding perfection, promoting ambition over repentance, materialism over humility, knowledge for knowledge’s sake, love without sacrifice.

We all have a private interpretation of the Gospel of Christ, even though we are warned not to twist the Good News to fit our perceptions. That’s why the Word of God is so important. The Word is the Living Foundation, the Rock of Ages, Yeshua Hamashiach, upon whom our promises are based. The Word is God. Anything that departs from the Word has no power to create real transformation. What is left smacks of tradition, and tradition is filled with remnants of paganism.

We prize our traditions. They’ve lasted so long because they are the sacred cows of our own heritage. We pay Christmas and Easter homage, knowing that in the early centuries, church missionaries combined the winter solstice and worship of Ashtar the fertility goddess with the Christian celebrations of Christ’s birth and the Resurrection. Augustine and others did this to gain converts — and political power. The result? A cobbled together form of Christianity.

More troubling is our failure to truly know the God we worship in our personal lives. 

Because we have expectations. 

We become unhappy in life when our expectations go unfulfilled. 

We are the End Times Generation of Believers.The Laodicean-Age gospel is one of Selfishness: Plenty. Convenience. Materialism. Pride. Greed. Ambition. Celebrity worship. Conformity. Positive Thinking. Laws of Attraction. New Age Universalism. Empire Building. Political Power. 

In Revelation Chapter Three, the Letters to the Seven Churches, Jesus rebukes the Laodicean church for boasting it was “increased with goods,”adding “Thou art wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” In this End Times Age, we see Jesus standing outside the Church. He knocks at the door, calling individuals to come out and fellowship with Him. But He is not in the midst of the overflow crowd in the service. 

Comfortable in a fake gospel, the Last Days church shuts Jesus out. Many of us lived a crisis gospel for years, crying out when our expectations were dashed, questioning why we didn’t get what we wanted, giving lip service to a being we perceived wasfar away from us.

Early in 2020, our expectations were destroyed.

We did not expect Americans standing in food bank lines. 

We did not expect job losses, economic catastrophe, or the complete shaking and shifting of the very ground we stand on. 

We did not expect that our kids might inherit a diminished, damaged country.

But the shaking has revealed to us the falseness of what we perceived as an American birthright; conservatives and liberals peddled a promise of a better life: better life via the two-party system, via the medical community, through protectionist policy and globalism in turn, through a stock market boom, through a real estate boom, through public education, as a consequence of locking up offenders in for-profit prisons, through massive student debt, through out of control national debt, through population control policies, through a tough immigration policy, through technology. 

Now, America’s institutions are crumbling. Systems are shut down. 

God has not met our expectations.Or, were we worshipping the True and Living God in the first place?

Is it possible we have worshipped a version of Santa Clause? Hoping to make the “nice” list? Looking for consideration from a vaguely benevolent, old man once a year? The True and Living God is a good and gracious God of Light. He is Love. But He does not change. He does not conform to the thinking of this world. He does not perform feats of magic. He does not release His power if only we “keep this chain going, “share this meme if you love Jesus,” or “copy and paste this status on Facebook.” 

For we walk by faith, not by sight. Without faith it is impossible to please Him. And faith must be rooted in the Living Word of God. That’s why the Word transforms. It is Jesus, the Creative Power of God the Son, moving in our lives. He cannot go against His Word. “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but My Word shall abide forever.”

Our expectations change. They revolve around the god of Self. We expect God to adhere to tradition, to honor our hard work, to remain true to our political views, to agree with our view of things, to fulfill our wish list, to enhance our already blessed lives. Much of what we believe about the God of the universe is based on a middle class value system that prizes the status quo. We want stasis. We fear change.

But this status quo god has to die. And we will die without change. Paul said Conformity is death. God is in the Transformation business.

These days, God is calling us to do more with less. 

It’s a kind of turning loose, of shaking your talismans, your anchors, your pacifiers, your excuses, turning out the pockets of your life and letting it all fall. It’s giving up on being perfect or getting the right balance or finding the magic bullet that finally puts you over the top, solves your problem, makes you right, validates you, satisfies you, or justifies all your crazy. 

The human existence — in the mere business of meeting the needs of our bodies — is bankrupt of purpose and hope. The more flesh drives us, the more we believe we are merely flesh. Our spirits starve. Depression comes from the darkness of dashed expectations and the indulgence of our body’s needs without giving God space and time to do His best transforming work. Such a work requires our commitment. More than that, it demands total surrender. A living sacrifice.

That’s not a Gospel people like to hear.

The Illusionist

The presence of the enemy in the Garden of Eden came in the form of a fallen angelic power of the air, capable of grand illusions and feats of deception in the area of perception. If we believe in the power of God to change lives, we must also believe in the Word of God describing “the Shining One,” the “angel of light,” the deceiver of men.

The word in the Greek, angelos, means messenger, and so we begin to see how Satan’s realm is a counterfeit of the True and Living God. A deceptive message. Satan’s lies come to us through our perceptions, twisted conceptions based on a faulty premise; these messages consist of a piece of the truth. In the Garden, the shining one argued, “Surely God hath not said.” Many fall prey to the falsehood that God’s Grace means we can continue in addictions, in error, since we are covered, like an insurance policy protects us against the consequences of selfishness and self-indulgence. Paul warned against this as did the other apostles adding that we “trample God’s Grace underfoot.” It is intriguing that the first prophecy in the Bible given by God Himself described the warfare between mankind and Satan. He declared that the cursed serpent would “bruise His heal, ” pointing to the sacrificial death of the Son of God, while the Son would crush the serpent’s head, referring to the Resurrection that would restore and redeem. The serpent is cursed to crawl along the ground, God’s way of countering Satan’s boast that he would ascend to God’s throne and be like the Most High .

The work of the Illusionist first surfaced in the Garden. The shining one had access there. The Bible says that Eve was deceived but the man was not. He entered the fallen state with both eyes open, not wanting to be separated from his mate. But we often downplay Eve’s decision to eat the forbidden fruit, judging her act as tantamount to eating the last piece of chocolate cake at midnight.

When Jesus was taken into the wilderness, He was tempted as Eve was. We read in the Gospels that the devil showed Jesus all the splendor and earthly sheen of the world’s pleasures, riches, and power. Adam and Eve had the power of free will, the power to choose.  Once the betrayal took place, the title deed to the Earth changed hands. Genesis tells the story of loss and God’s plan to use the “seed of the woman” to take back His rightful ownership. Adam and Eve betrayed their God because they bought a counterfeit truth.

Like Jesus’ temptation, the forbidden fruit of this world’s greatest prizes played like a movie before Eve, and she had no defense. The presentation of worldly power and pleasure mesmerized her in a similar way that hallucinatory drugs operate on the mind. Seduced, she stepped through a door, receiving this simulation as truth. We now operate in this simulation. There is a great noise today about “my truth,” but we must beware of such illusions. The ears are the gates to the spirit but the eyes never fill of illusions.

Movies, video games, pornography, and celebrity worship all come by sight. Gambling, sex addictions, food, drug, and alcohol addictions come first via the eyes. The Illusionist uses graphic images of a fake world. This world is totally centered around us, tailor-made, and easy to buy into. Self as God.

Quantum Physicists agree that we live in a digital simulation. Is it possible that this illusion is the result of the fall of man from the heights of God’s Grace? Paul tells us that we see through a glass, darkly but then, when we arrive in our glorified state, we will see Him, “face to face.” Solomon wrote, “There is a way that seemeth right into a man, but the end thereof is death.”

The Illusionist is good at his job, deceiving the innocent and the wicked alike. No wonder Jesus said, “Narrow is the Way, and few there be that find it.” Said another way, if something is popular, if large numbers flock to see a speaker, if a movement is picking up steam, discernment is needed.

We don’t talk much about discernment given our love of the meme, the sound-bite, and the video op. The American leisure or “middle” class is notorious for appropriating others’ thinking with no regard for the philosophy, nor the origin, of the ideas. The Lamb of God taketh away the sins of the world, but we, like sheep, go astray, casually, to the slaughter. It is fashionable to preach tolerance and simultaneously judge and even censor others for standing against the swift current of conformity. People line up to support political candidates, naming each in season as salvation itself, this program or that one, bullying anyone who doesn’t agree.

And yet, can America’s problems be that simple? World economic catastrophe and global pandemic have proven unfathomable, complex, multi-layered issues. In this Pandemic, unpacking the crucible of health versus economy is proving impossible. The two part system has failed us, and while some cling to it, others call for a unified effort or global response.

We are headed right into Chapter 6 and 13 of the Book of Revelation, and the prophetic 70th Week of Daniel. Still, Americans cannot seem to shed pop culture brain washing. Left versus Right, Liberal versus Conservative, my team versus your team. We have been conditioned to polarization until we have blinded ourselves to the Truth, the Eternal God of the Universe, the El Shaddai, YHVH Himself, expressed fully in Yeshua Hamashiach. His truth is eternal.

We have trusted scientific research, only to find it funded by manufacturers of Death and the fatalistic agenda of a few. We have allowed ourselves to make amusement and entertainment our purpose in life. We have judged and criticized what we couldn’t understand. We have harbored unforgiveness and an entitlement doctrine. While other countries suffered martyrdom for Christ, we have protested to assert our right to convenience and whim. We have sat under the feel-good teaching of a self-satisfied gospel: seminary-taught motivational speakers telling stories and jokes, connecting it to a piece of scripture, a comparison too ambiguous to make a dent in the lives of anyone listening. This kept the tithe coming in but did not bring us the reflection and repentance needed to come to the knowledge of the Truth. “My people perish for lack of knowledge.”

In this hour, consider the unpopular, the unsung, those maligned and marginalized in the virtual marketplaces. Wide is the way  to destruction, and nearly everyone is headed down that road. The narrow path to Life is obscured to the spiritually deaf and blind. There is a cost. Once we choose the narrow way, we must lay down our lives. God requires every part of us, spirit, mind, soul, and strength. Our bodies are living sacrifices. We must love Him with all that we are, conscious that we are nothing without Him. There is no agenda worth losing His loving presence. He is our true Family.

The cost is everything because it cost Him everything. We must strike off the heads of our idols and commit our lives to spiritual warfare. There is a battle for every soul. The true Gospel is not to be enjoyed at our convenience. His Grace is sufficient if we truly seek Him.

 

 

 

 

Watchers on the Wall

When Daniel the Prophet was young, he didn’t dream. He did, however, hear from God. In fact, God used him to deliver the Word of the Lord more than once to heads of state in succession. His Word, heard and delivered, always came to pass down to the letter. This is how we know a prophet is operating in that spiritual gift. He or she does not merely come close. When the person delivers a prophetic word, it comes to pass exactly as the Lord gives the words, down to the letter.

When Daniel was young, it was Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, who had a dream. It was a vivid, colorful, dream with strange characters, intense symbols, frightening images. In the Book of Joel, Chapter Two, we learn that in the Last Days, “Your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams.” We are told in that same chapter that God would use women and children; the poorest in society would receive the Holy Spirit and prophesy.

Some have a problem with women prophesying, but there is plenty of precedent in the Bible. When Joshua and Caleb arrive in Jericho, Rahab says, “We knew you were coming. I’ve been waiting for a long time. I thought you would have come right after your God parted the sea and drowned the Egyptians. We were very afraid. We have been on alert for a long time.”

Deborah was a mother, judge, writer, psalmist, military leader, and prophet. God raised her up in a time when most of the children of Israel were lost in idolatry. She predicted the murder of the Canaanite general, Sisera, down to the tent peg and the woman who drove it into his skull. There were seven women who were God’s prophets in the Bible.

Many times, we’ve heard from the pulpit that God is pouring out His spirit. One result of the pandemic is the quiet revival occurring in people’s living rooms. Many, many people are discussing their dreams. Most do not claim to be prophets. They speak of their dreams and ask for feedback because it is a new phenomenon. God is raising up young Black men, women of all nationalities, teenage girls. They are dreaming of judgment on America, the Rapture, and the Last Days. They deliver the Gospel in front of computers in bedrooms and living rooms while in quarantine and upload the video to YouTube. God is performing this revival work Himself.

The year 2020 began, for me, with a prophecy. I was sitting in a favorite rural coffee shop with my son. I began to feel that the Lord had a prophetic word for my son, and so I began by blessing him, which is a good way to begin, and I began to hear the Word of the Lord. He said to my youngest son, “Don’t let your heart be troubled about school. Be at peace and do not stress. Remember: there are many different kinds of school.”

That was January 5th. Within just over three months, all schools were closed, and within another month, the governor announced that schools would be closed for the year. Our county began scrambling to create online course content.

My son thrived, studying online for AP tests and creating musical compositions, writing, talking to his friends, playing with his dog, and playing video games. We ate real food, slowly, actually digesting it. We walked down to the reservoir, watching  Canadian Geese and a Blue Heron.

We were more than blessed. I was able to keep working at home, able to feed my child and keep the lights on at my house. Not everyone was as fortunate. Unemployment skyrocketed in our town and state. Soon, the cracks in society’s veneer began to show. Prisons began releasing non-violent offenders, proving that they could have done that all along. Schools had to offer curbside free lunch, proving that the real enemy of education is poverty, which no one wanted to see but was very visible in long lines at over 20 schools in our county alone. Many people proved they could work at home. We soon learned that we had been disrespecting essential workers for years and owed them more than we could repay for bringing us basic sustenance and taking care of us in hospitals.

It was also an eye-opener to see the government moving in to take advantage of the pandemic, cracking down on civil liberties. Authorities allowed long lines at Home Depot while writing tickets to drive-in churchgoers who stayed in their cars.

In 2017, I had a dream. My youngest son and I were taken by an angel to a high vantage point to see the place where we were living at the time — except we saw it in the future. We were taken into a cafe. At first, I thought a new cafe had been built in our rural neighborhood, but I soon realized that I was looking at a cafeteria in a school that hadn’t been built yet. Inside the school, middle school and high school kids along with some adults stared at their phones waiting for them to turn on. I heard students asking each other if they had heard whether phone service would be restored today. It was the only subject of conversation. The students were being fed inside the cafeteria but school was not going on. It was serving as a feeding center or a shelter of some kind.

I was then back outside again, just in time to see a large military jeep pull up. A man dressed all in back, tight stomach, black boots, got out. Other vehicles followed suit. Military law had arrived.

In late March, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced that he might turn schools into day-care centers so that parents could go back to work if lock-down orders were relaxed.

As soon as  the pandemic arrived, government authorities began talking about a lock-down. I remember taking my son to his last overnight stay with a friend and worrying that the shelter-in-place order might be given while he was at his friend’s house. Now, for the middle class, most of whom can work at home, shelter-in-place is a lot like camping at home. On social media, anyone who suggests we should open some businesses and help people get back to work is labeled an idiot. Media images of small protests of the lockdown orders are often shown brandishing Confederate flags and those with slogans of “Don’t Tread on Me.”  I must have seen those two same flags a dozen times on multiple channels across several cities. Funny how the same people with the same flags traveled protest to protest so fast. And so, the sheep branded every dissenting voice accordingly.

Most people have just received stimulus checks. There is talk from the Pope of a universal basic income. Food Bank lines are longer than any in the Great Depression. Americans seem fine with depending on their government for a paycheck, something that would have been unthinkable five years ago. Never has it been so unpopular to want to work.

People are calling for a unified world response to the pandemic crisis. Many began calling for a world leader to emerge and solve the world’s problems. At the same time, there is unprecedented environmental chaos: earthquakes in places that rarely get them; volcanic activity; mega-storms and catastrophic flooding; wildfires; famine and food shortages; pandemic. This is the list Jesus gave in Matthew 24 when asked what the signs of the end times would be. He compared these events as coming closer together as a woman’s birth pains come closer when she is close to delivering her child.

What is next? Many ask. Well, we know that the pandemic will last longer than we thought back in March. Back then, the federal government asked the public for two weeks. Already, many locales have been in shelter-in-place mode for nearly two months. Anthony Fauci has told us to expect a return of the virus this fall. We sense that this is the new normal. Many of us sense that the government will usurp more control as the virus takes more lives. There is no use arguing whether these draconian measures will be necessary. The situation is complex. There is no immunity to the disease. There is no vaccine yet. Nations are in the grip of the fear of death. Death is non-political. But the fear of death . . . now that’s something the ambitious and greedy can use for their benefit.

In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus said to consider the fig tree. The fig tree has always been one of God’s symbols for Israel. Jesus said that when the fig tree starts putting forth its leaves, we know that summer is near. We are looking for summer. The budding of the tree gives us a sense of the season we are in.

A generation saw the return of the state of Israel. My own mother graduated the year Israel became a nation once again. She is still living. Jesus said, “This generation shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.”

So, what is next? We are just on the cusp of this new normal of rolling lock-downs, unemployment, and economic disaster. The greatest country in the world, many say, has fallen almost overnight. What can we then expect to come?

Jesus said that in the Last Days, people would go on marrying and giving in marriage. Business as usual. And then, sudden destruction would come upon them. Somehow, an unprecedented world-wide catastrophe: pandemic, famine, rationing, and lawlessness brings mankind to a point of desperation, out of which will step a world leader promising peace and prosperity. The Bible says for 3 1/2 years, this world leader will fulfill his promises, especially his promises to Israel. This is a covenant-making man. He is the rider on the white horse of Chapter Six of Revelation who rides with a bow. No arrow is mentioned but the man is described as conquering. Since the rainbow is God’s symbol for the covenant promise to never destroy the world with water again, this man is seen as conquering by covenant, a unifying agreement, which will position him as the new one-world ruler. The New World Order promised by George Herbert Walker Bush

Look for more unveiling of one-world efforts: concerts, religious movements, government meetings. Talk of unification.

Look for the government to require a new form of ID that contains your vaccination history and record of CoVid-19 testing. Look for this to be the start of the “mark” to come that enables one to buy and sell. The mark will likely be a digital record of everything about you, from your medical records to your credit scores and your social media history. Look for talk and plans for a new temple in Jerusalem. Watch for erosion of basic liberties including religious liberties. Look for a new digital wallet to replace real dollars. Governmental supplemental income will increase. Watch for more talk of a universal basic income. Total dependence upon the government gives them total control.

Cosmic signs are already here. Asteroids are on the way. Quietly, the government raised the alert status for Apophis coming in 2029 to the highest level for danger of catastrophic impact. Look for more asteroids, smaller but more numerous, pelting the earth and causing destruction early in this decade. Watch for earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis coming to America. Look for the world to be brought to the brink of war.

Beware of the revelation of a discovery indicating communication with alien intelligence. Look for this so-called alien communication to become the centerpiece of the delusion of human evolution, the idea that alien intelligence planted humans here and an alien origin holds the keys to world peace and human progress. Look for this alien explanation to be called upon after the disappearance of the church remnant in the much discussed “snatching away,” also known as the “harpazo” or “rapturo.” Watch for unifying religious movements to accommodate every religion except those that put Jesus the Messiah at the center. Church will become synonymous with social work and wealth redistribution.

We watch on the wall for these things Jesus predicted. He took the time to answer his disciples’ questions about the End Times. Jesus made a great distinction between the Era of Grace and the Great Tribulation. We get the impression that the Grace of God has allowed business as usual for much of the world for over 2000 years: marriages, buying and selling, enjoying the fruits of civilization. Grace has done this, not mankind. The New World Order will give credit to the Brotherhood of Man, the Human Spirit. But the start of the Great Tribulation will end the Age of Grace. God has chosen the foolish to confound the wise. Two thousand years of prophecy, the foolishness of the Cross and the strange truth of the Gospel. We must savor the final moments of His Grace. We should treasure every opportunity to share the Truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Saltiness of the Faithful

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Ye are the salt of the Earth. Yet, if the salt is no longer full of savor and pleasing to the taste, what good is it, then, but to be thrown out to be trampled under foot.

So many believers tell me they struggle with fear and anxiety. The prayer of faith may usher them into God’s Grace and salvation, but the souls of many believers are in torment. They were in torment before they believed, and the torment continues. This fear and anxiety is often bound up in their work ethic. Somehow, they can never do enough. They sense that God is distant or has left them altogether because of something they did — or something they didn’t do. 

As children, we are given rewards for behavior, acting “good,” and doing work, such as cleaning a room. Learning responsibility is important. But those responsibilities cannot come before love. 

In my husband’s home, work was practically worshipped. Even relationships revolved around work. Intimacy was traded for working around the house, a honey-do list. Each partner shouldered a duty to the other to perform certain tasks. It was a silent understanding. Love was best expressed in the therapy of hard work, in what people did for each other. And it bred resentment.

But work is not intimacy, as I soon learned when, silently, my husband’s work-mates became more demanding of his time. Soon, if he was not working, my husband hid himself away in an office talking on the phone to his fellow employees. Work formed a wall between us. Instead of our little family having together time, our son and I became a duo, making a life without the head of our household, even though my husband was just down the hall. 

I began to understand something that went beyond our relationship. Work is a convenient avoidance tactic for people who are afraid of intimacy. But those who fear intimacy are not afraid of their partners. Those who fear intimacy are afraid of themselves. 

And, so, what does this have to do with salt?

We’ve been sold a lie, and that lie is that we must work our way to God or that we have to do certain works to please God.

In my own life, this translated to a giant “thing,” something great I was supposed to do for the Lord. I was in the Lord’s army now, and He obviously needed me. What He called me to do was so important. Everything else had to take a back seat, right?

Well, not exactly.

First, God does not need me. He loves me, but, in no way am I qualified to help Him.  Second, putting all our free time into serving in the church or launching a music ministry isn’t any healthier than when we give all our time to a secular job. What gets lost is the same. Family, friendships, intimacy. Time spent in fellowship with God flies out of our lives. 

People have said to me, “But, I’m doing the Lord’s work.”

I find this a sad statement. Because Jesus warns us in the Gospels that many will make this same argument with Him, and He will have to respond, “Depart from me: I never knew you.”

“Fine, but I still don’t understand what this has to do with salt!” You might be thinking.

One morning this week, the Lord quieted my Spirit. I was thinking about all the things I had to do: Working at home; ordering food because supplies were unreliable in stores; praying for the sick and for friends who had lost family to the virus; an editing job; after-hours training I had to do. I had been reading Paul’s encouraging words about the return of Jesus to gather believers. I saw a parallel between Matthew’s account of Christ’s “Salt of the Earth” speech and the term “Restrainer” in 1 Thessalonians 4. “Now He who restrains will keep on restraining the evil until He be taken out of the way.” 

The Lord spoke in my spirit and said, “Now do you see what it means to be the salt? I never said you had to achieve saltiness. I said you ARE. Do you see what is your most important work? It is preserving this world from the onslaught of evil to come by allowing my grace to work in and through you as part of My Body.”

“But we Christians are supposed to evangelize the world,” I thought. And then it hit me. The 144,000 will bring in a record number of believers. The Christian “era” has been fraught with failure, overreaching, misinterpretation, materialism, apostasy. But the Church is still here. The gates of hell did not prevail against it. Why would God allow such a gigantic failure to continue century after century?

Because it isn’t a failure. Because God doesn’t need us. We need Him. 

And as far as evangelism goes, God Himself is doing that now. Without the help of a building fund or a missions program. He is doing this through His Body.

I saw it plainly. We don’t have to do anything to serve as the preservative except to do the work of the most important commandment:  Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 

Our job is to grow closer to Yeshua, in communion with Him, and to pray, interceding for those too weak to fight for themselves in the spiritual battle for their lives. 

In the same way, if we want great kids, we must love our life partner and love our kids, demonstrating that love rather than providing “helpful” criticism. In fact, if we would stop altogether such help, God would be most pleased.

This preserving labor is not work. It is the kind of labor of love we can do in quarantine, under stay-at-home orders. This restraining force, this “saltiness,”  is the true work of every believer. Yes, some are called to preach and prophesy, but no more will we see media campaigns, big marketing plans for mega best selling books, and itineraries for big names drawing crowds in the thousands. 

Now, it will be homes, parking lots, coffee shops. Phone calls.

Now is the time for all believers to rise up in their living rooms, not to achieve fame and amass a fortune, but to pray, fast, and just to be. We are to be sober-minded, vigilant, expecting the Lord’s return at any moment, shining the light from within in this dark place in time. We are to be transformed and not conformed to the twisted value system of this present darkness.

Our true work is prayer. That is the quiet labor of a day. We are keeping unchained evil at bay for another day. Tomorrow.