I had a brief vision brought back to my memory of something I saw in 1980. It is so pertinent today. I was driving back to where I lived in East Hampton, Connecticut from the neighboring town of Colchester on Route 16. I approached the bottom of an incline and I saw a rattle snake that had been run over. Part of its lower body was stuck to the road, making it unable to move away. Yet it was doing its best to strike at cars as they went over it. Even as the snake’s end approached, it was still trying to bite and sink its fangs into the approaching vehicles and inject venom to maim or kill. This memory reminded me of Revelation 12:12, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows his time is short.” So many are aware of this scripture yet act no differently than those who seek to show their knowledge of God by misinterpreting scripture and handling those very snakes that seek to kill.

The venom from snakes and many scorpions is quite dangerous. Serious snake bites are filled with neurotoxins that can cause arrhythmia, heart failure, musculoskeletal disorders, psychological distress, severe kidney problems, vision problems, brain damage, amputations and death. Yet people seem oblivious to the inherent dangers of embracing that great vile serpent Satan. Great lies proceed from his mouth and when the liar speaks, “he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies. I arrive on the scene, tell you the plain truth, and you refuse to have a thing to do with me.” (John 8 – Message Bible) In John 10:10, Jesus says, “I have come that you would have life, and that you would have it more abundantly.” Yet so many follow a god of their own making. They have become like those that seek to charm snakes. They believe they can have that cobra be charmed by one’s own power and play music that calms them. They are unaware that many of those snakes have had their venom sacs or fangs removed. Or their mouths sewn shut. This snake is attracted by vibrations and swaying motion of the charmer. Venomous snakes and scorpions cannot be pets. And Satan cannot be lured by music and motion. No matter the light show or volume of the music. Satan comes only to rob, kill, and destroy.

Ecclesiastes 10:11 says, “If the serpent bites before it is charmed, there is no advantage to the charmer.” And this is what is happening so often. Words can bite and leave grievous wounds. So can false doctrine, which is like a twisted serpent leading you astray. As Paul warned in 2 Corinthians 11, many will come and preach a doctrine that has a different spirit than that which Jesus spoke. They become lured by the craftiness of the enemy that may sound close to what is correct, but causes us to stray from the simplicity of that which is in Christ. If we ask that our spiritual eyes and understanding be opened, we will see that no one calls for justice and they trust in empty words. They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web. He who eats of this dies. (Isaiah 59). Adam and Eve ate of those words in the Garden of Eden. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 16 that the God of peace will crush satan under our feet. But we must take this authority. We cannot attempt to handle that which is poison or follow those who embrace a doctrine that does not line up with what Christ taught. Paul warned us in 1 Timothy 6 to avoid any such false doctrine. The one who presumes to teach such false theology is “puffed up with pride and stupefied with conceit; is woefully ignorant. He has a morbid fondness for controversy and disputes and strife about words, which result in envy and jealousy, quarrels and dissension, abuse and insults, and base suspicions, and protracted wrangling and wearing discussion and perpetual friction among who are corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, who believe that godliness is a source of profit.” (Amplified Bible) From such, withdraw. We cannot be ignorant of satan’s devices. His words and ways are filled with venom. And man, having handled this serpent, seeks to spread this venom under the guise of the word of the Lord.

Venom like this always kills. Even handling a dead serpent or scorpion can cause one to be bit. The venom is still just as deadly. Many still follow a serpent that was hit but no death blow was delivered. So that viper is still around and millions seek to handle it or be charmed by its evil allure. And beware of the young snakes out there.  Their venom can be more deadly, as they have no control of the amount of venom they release when they bite. Many today believe because one once spoke a gospel that aligned with the word of the Lord that they remain constant in their righteousness and teaching. We must examine every word to see it lines up with Christ. When you see nationalism and bible teaching being presented as one and the same, realize that it’s incumbent upon you to know the truth. When you see politics and the church on the same page it’s time to step back. When you see what Jesus spoke in Matthew 5-7 taught as just another story, one not to take to heart, then realize that the viper’s venom has adversely affected that false teacher. When prophecy often seems to  fall short, or is proven false, and the one who proclaims to be a prophet has not repented, realize that their handling of serpents has infected their hearts and minds. When racism, anti-semitism, and practices like voter suppression and passing laws that encourages them, realize that same venom has revealed itself. These are the ones that seek to deceive, and venom of asps is under their lips. (Romans 3:13) No matter how these venomous practices seek to disguise themselves, “In the end it will bite like a serpent and sting like an adder.” (Proverbs 23:32)

I remember as a young boy in Norfolk, Virginia, there was a warning of a rattle snake in a copse of trees near my house. Three women went out armed just with brooms and a rake and killed it. I’m sure the brooms stunned it and the rake killed it. We need the spiritual brooms and rakes today. These snakes aren’t hiding, they walk among us with no fear. They inject venom filled with hate, malice, spite and jealousy. They use weapons of the enemy yet speak soothing words to entice. The same God who said in Deuteronomy 8 that He has led you through the wilderness filled with fiery serpents and scorpions is still here to guide us today. We must understand that when the Apostle John stated in John 3 that just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, that those who looked upon it would be healed from the venom of serpents, we too must look upon Christ who was pierced for our transgressions. Those that seek to spread their venom are of the world and the world hears and embraces them. But if you say you are of God, you will be overcomers, as He has supplied the anti-venom for all that pertains to life. Keep yourselves from that which seeks to take God’s place in your heart. Blessings.

Something to Crow About

All of the Gospels speak of Peter affirming his steadfast allegiance to Jesus. Peter stands out as one who goes from listening to Jesus speak of His betrayal and crucifixion, to going with his brother James and his mother and asking to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus in His kingdom. (Matthew 20:21) When Jesus asks if they are able to drink of the cup that He will drink and be baptized with, they answer in the affirmative. Peter had previously heard Jesus speak of His coming death and resurrection, and in Matthew 16:22-23, Peter rebuked Jesus for what He was saying. He became an unwitting tool of the enemy and received a harsh rebuke from Jesus saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Peter still is not seeing all that lies ahead. When Jesus speaks in Matthew 26:31-35 that all will stumble because of His upcoming death, Peter responds “Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble.” Jesus responds by saying, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Yet Peter held fast to what he thought.

How many roosters do you think were in Jerusalem that day Jesus was crucified? Only one? No, there were so many in that immediate area. But one rooster was selected by the Lord to sound a clarion call that all would hear, but for one above all else to register with, Peter. Throughout the bible, the Lord has used animals for specific purposes and not once did they refuse, not hear, or not complete the task. From the large fish the Lord sent to swallow Jonah and keep in its belly for three days and nights. (Jonah 1:17) A foreshadowing of Jesus in the tomb from death to resurrection. To the donkey that speaks to Balaam in Numbers 22. To the innumerable quail sent to feed the Israelites in Exodus 16. To ravens directed by the Lord to bring bread and meat to feed Elijah in the desert in 1 Kings 17. To the donkey that had never been ridden waiting for Jesus to ride him into Jerusalem in Matthew 21. There are so many other instances of the immediate obedience of His animal kingdom. But this crowing of the rooster cut to the quick of Peter’s heart. In Matthew 26, Peter had denied he knew Jesus three times. But when that rooster crowed, he remembered the words Jesus said to him about denying Him three times. Then his conscience was pricked. Peter left the area and wept bitterly.

Peter rebuked Jesus because he couldn’t reconcile his version of the conquering Messiah with what Jesus was trying to reveal to him. Peter was not setting his mind on the things of God, but on his own ways, plans, and purposes. He had set his mind on earthly things and values. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” We too often have a partial view of something and act on it as if we know the whole picture. Peter did that. Yet, His blessings and mercy are new each day. Jesus knew how demoralized and crushed Peter was, and after His resurrection His angel told the women by the tomb to tell His disciples – and Peter – that Jesus is going before them into Galilee and there you will see Him. How many times have we been in a position of feeling abandoned and crushed? Believing He has left you only to find His comforting embrace through His presence or scripture or one He has sent to speak directly to you. I can personally attest to this, and this morning I experienced it again.

That rooster had a divine purpose. It superseded that of every other rooster in Jerusalem. Many on this earth today have been giving things to say that are truly from the Lord. Lamentations 3:37 says, “Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it?” Yet so many presume to speak for the Lord things of their own makings. They do not examine their ways but look for things that are self-aggrandizing. They love the acclaim of others and the accompanying riches that come with it. They hear a voice that does not line up with God and crow from the rooftops. Shepherds have become dull of hearing in their pursuit of folly, yet still speak to their congregants as if they speak for Him. All the while they have become tools of the enemy. When calamity strikes, their flocks will scatter. We are told to set our minds on things above not on earthly things. Yet somehow so many in positions to speak what they say is from God align themselves with political things. Following after that which has no place in Him. Following a man-made gospel whose end is death. Turn from these false teachings. Where you see your fellow man downtrodden and spoken ill of, realize those that do this worship another god. When racism and anti-semitism get a pass from those who seek to lead or speak for the Lord, walk from them. When you see history that should be repented of and healed being white washed, realize the enemy is at work to bring hatred into your midst. Psalm 5 speaks of God taking no pleasure in wickedness. He hates all workers of iniquity and will destroy those who speak falsehood. He abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. Yet still everywhere one can hear the cacophony of incessant nails on a blackboard masquerading as His word or direction. They should have no part in you. Listen to that one rooster who had something from the Father to crow about. He had given His son to be crucified, that through His death, we might have life. Heed the words Paul spoke in Ephesians 4:29. “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth but only such a word that is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” He is risen! Blessings.

Embracing the Wrong Picture

David said in Psalm 27, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” He asked the Lord not to hide His face from him, to help him and never forsake him. Yet that heartfelt cry for intimacy with the Lord seems forgotten by so many who teach it but do not attempt to live it. A good example would be seen in the title character of the “Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde.

Dorian Gray sees a portrait that entices him. It speaks to youth and vitality. He declares that he would give his soul if the portrait were to grow old while he would remain young and handsome. Compounding this situation is his friend Henry who encourages Dorian to follow a wrong path. Dorian falls for an actress, Sibyl, who finds she can no longer pretend to be in love on stage. She wants what is real. Dorian rejects her for this and returning home he sees the portrait now has a cruel expression on its face. He decides to ask forgiveness from Sibyl but finds she has committed suicide because of the rejection and false life. Dorian’s friend Henry tells him there is no reason to feel guilty or bad. As Henry’s influence over Dorian grows, the portrait displays the corruption and evil of Dorian’s life by visibly aging yet Dorian remains unblemished. Dorian is going into a hole of evil and capricious living from which he cannot return. When his old friend, Basil, sees how the painting reflects Dorian’s heart, he tells him he must repent and pray for forgiveness. Dorian murders him. Eventually after increasing depravity, Dorian seeks to redeem himself. He goes to look upon the portrait and see if that changes of heart is reflected in the portrait. He only sees a sneer of cunning. Dorian decides to destroy the painting and stabs it. But it backfires. His servants find an old, gruesome man on the floor with a knife in his chest. On the wall is the portrait Dorian lusted after. The same beauty depicted as when he first saw it.

Some may see this as an example of one who’ll do anything to stay youthful and vigorous. This analogy was given to me for those who will do anything to preserve or get power and wield it selfishly. They have no problem using the image of God as a banner for that which harms others. They are oblivious to the damage they cause in their quest to make the world, or their sphere of influence, into a picture of something so totally bereft of His goodness that they sink deeper into a hole of depravity and lies. This was evidenced in chapter 11 of Genesis when Nimrod, in all of his physical splendor and power, attempted to build the tower of Babel, thusly satisfying his and the people’s lust for greatness. They wanted to make a name for themselves and make a tower whose top is in the heavens. So, God came down and confused their language. They were unable to communicate with each other and the tower was abandoned. But today differing languages don’t seem to stop people from having similar methods in establishing powerbases that give them control while destroying the earth and dominating people they can control. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But it’s end is the way of death.”

We cannot say that we are unaware of the lust for power and control that is only increasing. The only way this continues is by taking away rights of others in order to gain more control. In order to maintain this path, people who seek to control must become more deceptive and manipulative. Lying becomes an art form to be daily perfected. This lust for power and control by any means is rooted in the same traits of weakness, insecurity, and conceit seen in Dorian Gray. Who you hurt matters not at all. This lust for power and getting your own way, no matter the consequences, eventually atrophies your heart and disfigures your soul. Your reward is self- gratification. Forget the fatherless, the widow, the poor, the outcast, the foreigner, the sick, and all those Christ said to minister to. Your quest makes no room for them. This covetousness, wickedness, deceit, pride, lawlessness and foolishness is the order of the day. Throw some bible white out on Mark 7:21-23 and worry not that these things defile a man. But realize that people who follow this path are backbiters and haters of God. They are violent, proud, inventors of evil things, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful, that such will come into the righteousness judgement of God. But not only them, but those who approve of them! This should cause everyone to at least stop and examine their heart. (Romans 1:32)

Ministers too often teach a gospel to appease or to increase church size and coffers. Prophets speak from a voice that is so contrary to Christ and gauge their words by amounts of followers on social media and by offerings. Examine yourself to see if you are truly walking in the faith. Test yourself. Oswald Chambers said that “Intellectual darkness comes through ignorance; spiritual darkness comes because of something we do not intend to obey.” So, when you see an interpretation of His word used to meet someone’s need, reject it outright. Read for yourself. Get on your knees before Him and ask for His way. When you see lies being accepted as the norm and society turning a blind eye to that which the Lord condemns, walk from it. When you see people being marginalized by denial of brutal past treatment of blacks in teaching in schools, or of indigenous peoples, or of the immigrant, or the poor, or of the constant yet increasing rise of anti-semitism, stand up to it. When you see those who will lie repeatedly and steal consistently for power, turn from them. Those who perpetrate these evils are wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. If you continue to follow them or basically remain unmoved and give them a wink and a nod, then you are complicit and heap shame and guilt upon yourself. Do not wait for some great move of God to sweep you into an emotional state where you ask for forgiveness. Read 1 John 1:9. Confess and you’ll be forgiven. The ante has risen. This is not a game where you wait for one side to win. There is only His way. Take up your cross this day. Do not be found with those lying wretched and disfigured beneath a fake portrait of what you follow as Dorian Gray did. Be that new creation spoken of by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” I pray you stand. Blessings.

No Room At The Inn

I intended to post this between Christmas and New Year’s, but doctor appointments and health issues delayed me. How many times have you thought about the birth of Jesus in a manger? There are so many conflicting opinions as to exactly where this was and was it really where the animals were kept. Some say it was a lower floor of a house that was full because of the people who came for the ordered census by Caesar Augustus. It may have been an inn that was full because of the ordered census and a manger which was used to hold hay for animals could have held Jesus. None of this is my point. How many, when realizing we must be filled with Christ and put aside self and make room for Him, basically say there is “no room at the inn?” We all do. We only give to Him what we find is comfortable. It’s as if we entertain a spirit of accommodation. For most of us it’s hard to give Him access to all of us.

When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to take up residence in us. Yet, we so often relegate a crevice of our self for Him to reside. Enough for Him to be there, but don’t make a ruckus. Yet, we’ve said yes to Him by inviting Him to reside in us and then so easily forget what was done in order for us to be a vessel where He resides. Do we actually recognize who is coming to fill us? That this was sealed with the death of our savior? When something is asked of us, or when something happens that we perceive makes us uncomfortable, do we say yes? Or, do we say there is no room at the inn? We must give up the right to ourselves and let Him reign. We usually do that in increments. We give a resounding YES to what we believe His birth means, but not to the death of self that must accompany it. When Jesus cleansed the temple, everything contrary to our Lord was chastised and cast out. Do we realize our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost and we therefore have given tacit approval to be cleansed? We must be cognizant of that which must be kept clean in us and realize we give Him the right to also cleanse us. When we are born from above (born again), we look to identify with Him. Yet, I can say I so often have looked like something so contrary to that which I claim to identify with. We all do. But we must press on toward that upward call in Christ. To know Him and the power of His resurrection. Laying aside all that keeps us from walking in His fullness.

We are all at a place where we must take an honest assessment of where we are in Christ. Have we said yes to Him in even that which we find impossible or too confining? Have we come to a place that we can honestly say that which Jesus spoke were not just nice rules to live by but commandments? Can we look past ourselves and realize that by aligning with those who claim to speak for Christ, but whose actions are antithetical to all He taught, we are ourselves then in error? In fact, they are spurred on by an anti-Christ spirit. Do you continue holding hands with those who preach or practice a gospel that has no place in Him? Jesus was straight forward in all He spoke. Some He spoke to in parables and to some He explained the parables. He healed the ear of one coming to crucify Him and washed the feet of His betrayer, but also referred to Herod as a fox and called the Pharisees a brood of vipers. No one could mistake where Jesus stood on anything. Yet I see so many I’ve known for years align with false doctrine, lies, QAnon, insurrectionists, and listening to a gospel they once would have rejected but now believe a lie. They have learned selective hearing quite unlike that which Jesus taught. Hate, suspicion, bitterness and unforgiveness no longer feel like intruders in their life but are practiced without regret. These same people who once said they were against antisemitism now embrace it or those who practice it, and thereby causes evil to continue to affect race in this county. And they do not stand against the daily work of evil. They are therefore complicit and guilty of the same. When Moses said for the people to step away from Korah (Numbers 16) for his rebellion, they either did or they would suffer the same fate. And Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6 to come out from among them and be separate. It was a warning. Listen.

So many of us have become anesthetized to seeing what He puts before our very eyes. We have hardened our hearing and thereby our hearts. Yet because we have allowed Holy Spirit to have access to such a small part of ourselves, we cannot see it. Humility is not something we look for in a friend, leader or ourselves. Repentance has become a rote ritual. If we give Him more access to us, it will be seen. One will not have to go to the manger to find it. We all must surrender our will to Him thereby giving the Holy Spirit access to all of us. Not just a tiny, unattended quasi guest room. Our faith and confidence must be in Him. Not what we hear droning on daily from other sources. When was the last time you knew His truth was being revealed or spoken to? Or conversely a lie being quickly undone because of Him who we give access to in us? Oswald Chambers said, “I must place no confidence in my own works, but only in God. Trusting in my own mental understanding becomes a hindrance to complete trust in God.” This only comes by giving Him access to all of us and not saying there is no room at the inn.

Do we understand how giving more access to the Holy Spirit can impact us, and in turn, others? Rather than spewing division and hate, you may find your hearts open and full like the family in Buffalo, NY who took in the 10 stranded Koreans from a terrible snowstorm.  Or you can choose to stand by those who send busloads of immigrants away based on something that has no place in Christ. Jeremiah 6:16 says, “Stand at the crossroads and see. Ask for the old paths, the eternal paths, where the good way is, and walk in it. You will find rest for your souls.” So many have not.We must. Do not give just a room, but ask Him to fill all of you. Daily. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. And He is the guarantee of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. I pray for each of us that we say there is “room at the inn” and that that the eyes of our understanding are opened and that we may know the hope of His calling. The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you. Prepare an open and inviting dwelling place. Blessings.

Encroaching Darkness ~ Part 2

Many years ago, my wife and I took a vacation from Connecticut to Boynton Beach, Florida. We were hoping for some sun and relaxation after a tough winter in Connecticut. We stayed with two of my sisters and brothers-in-law in an old farmhouse on Lawrence Road. It was definitely not the Comfort Inn. My sister told us that if we got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, to definitely not turn on the lights because of the roaches and bugs that came out at night. That scared my wife, but she had a small flashlight to use which would show the way without revealing what was hiding. I can picture this exact same scenario going on in our country today. Hidden things, which once furtively scurried from one area of darkness to another, now feeling so emboldened that they do not care if they are seen. Can we truly have no fellowship with this encroaching darkness and expose it for what it is or will we, too, compromise and make excuses for those who seek to promote an evil agenda no matter the harm done.

There was a time when people on both sides of the aisle politically had a common goal of what was good for America. Going all the way back to the Puritans and John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, to the speech by John Kennedy on “A Model of Christian Charity,” to Peggy Noonan’s speech for Ronald Reagan ~ they all addressed Matthew 5 saying we are the light of the world. And that a city set on a hill cannot be hidden, so let your light shine before all men. They said America is freedom and freedom is special, but it’s fragile and needs protection. What happened since then? Little by little things contrary to those beliefs crept in. We’ve had those roaches that dared to come out and hunt in the light before. Those that believed America could take whatever it wanted without impunity. From our treatment of indigenous people and Asian people, to the ongoing hatred and distrust of Jewish people, to basically anyone that doesn’t measure up to what you feel is a picture of America. And people of color have never been seen as equal. As children of the same God many say they believe in. They still fight for the same equal rights that were supposed to have been theirs from years ago. But, so much of what we now see spoken publicly and acted on in front of our eyes, was once hidden. This encroaching darkness was always there. It just waits for the right time to make an attempt to invade the light. And we, as keepers of the light, have not held our ground. We’ve retreated. In the Moffatt Translation of 1 Timothy 6, the Apostle Paul speaks of those who mislead. “Anyone who teaches novelties and refuses to fall in with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the doctrine that tallies with godliness, is a conceited, ignorant creature, with a morbid passion for controversy and argument which leads only to envy, dissension, insults, insinuations, and constant friction between people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth. They imagine religion is a paying concern.” And we are inundated with false prophets and teachers who make excuses for these purveyors of darkness, and are selling their wares to everyone they can rope into their lair of deceit.

The German philosopher Nietzsche spoke of those who peer too deeply into things that touch the worst parts of our souls and bring us to a place where what you once thought was battling against your vision of America and the Church, only brings you into deeper recesses of darkness. He said “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster and when you gaze into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” Many thought they were fighting the good fight, only to fall into the depths of depravity through their hate and discord. They lost themselves. They believed the lies of those who told them that foreigners were coming to take their jobs. That Jews owned all the influential cabals in the world. The inferiority of people of color. That Christianity meant controlling all forms of government to be ready to herald the second coming of our Lord. That constantly giving special breaks to the wealthiest would find its way to the poorest. In the midst of things like this, we’ve put the Church on a course that too often leads people away from the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Sermon on the Mount is basically a nice Sunday school story. Taking up one’s cross is basically using that cross to beat someone into submission to your point of view. This “encroaching darkness” is upon us. Evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3) They have entered the abyss.

We are at a time I knew was coming, but hoped to never see. What the Lord refers to as an abomination in lying lips, has become accepted in this country and especially the church. Election deniers are in full force as seen in those running for office on the Republican ticket. They care little as to the veracity of their spurious claims.  And I say this as a past supporter of Reagan and George H. W. Bush. QAnon is now a part of the Republican party, in that its lies are used to push an agenda. Compassion is never the first thing considered. But infighting and hate rule the day. If you keep repeating a lie, it will be accepted and believed. That’s the mantra of many. This work of the enemy is being allowed. That should truly frighten all of us.  But many do not believe the love of the truth of Christ. For this reason, the Lord has sent strong delusion that they would believe the lie, that they may be condemned who did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2) The scripture actually says “The Lord will send them strong delusion.” I believe this is already in the process. Those cockroaches are going wherever they want and they speak to evil and an unclean spirit. A present encroaching darkness trying to extinguish light. In Isaiah 1, the Lord says, “Come, let us reason together. Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” I fear we’re past hearing that. We’ve had so many warnings. Come before Him with a humble and contrite spirit. As I’ve said before, there is no being born from above without repentance. Test all things. Hold fast to that which is true. Walk in the light, as He is the light. Cast off all works of darkness. If we are truly called the light of the world, then we must not walk in darkness, but walk as children of light. Stand in all things. Expose the works of darkness and have no fellowship with them. Let Christ in you, the hope of glory, be seen. Blessings.

Encroaching Darkness ~ Part 1

Many years ago, while at the University of Connecticut, I was traveling back to my apartment I shared with friends in Storrs, Connecticut. It was late at night and it was pitch black out. It was late fall, overcast, and nothing was left of the moon. And my car decided to quit about two miles from my apartment. I got out and looked for a reason it had quit, other than it was a piece of junk, and just yelled a few profane things at the top of my lungs. To no one. To circumstances. To no avail. And then I noticed how dark it was. It was eerie. Driving along, I realized it was getting late. But on desolate back roads and my mind on upcoming things, along with the distraction of my tape player, I didn’t realize the increasing darkness. This is where I see us as a nation. This is where I see the church. So many have embraced false words, promising hope and light, that they’ve allowed an encroaching and malevolent darkness to enter into our lives without so much as a second look.

This darkness, that now is covering our land, is too similar to what I experienced that night in Connecticut. Frederick Buechner described this so appropriately in his book “Secrets in the Dark.” He said, “This darkness is so complete that it seems less an absence of light than a presence, a darkness so dense and impenetrable, that what little light you have on your own can barely survive in it. It’s hard to believe that it will ever be day again. There is nothing to get your bearings by, nobody anywhere to point you on your way. As you travel slowly into the night, it’s as if night travels slowly into you until the darkness without starts to become indistinguishable from the darkness within. Daybreak is what in every sense you’re hoping toward, the coming of light into every kind of darkness.” This darkness is from the prince of darkness. This darkness manifests itself in lies, hatred, worshipping man not God. Having no love for your neighbor and having no concept of taking up your cross and following Jesus. We ignore Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 6:14 when he warns saying “What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” We’ve embraced the lies of political virulence that is claiming the very souls of so many who once thought they walked in light. It says in Ephesians 5:8, “You were once in darkness, but now you are the light of the world. Walk as children of light.” What happened? Can you say you followed Christ but now discard the cross you’re to carry, and instead follow evil men of corrupt character? What has bewitched you?

We who profess Christ all, at some point, believed that we have this great light, Christ the Lord, which allowed us to no longer sit in darkness as His light has dawned. It’s as if people connected a dimmer switch to this light. This is what Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3, that men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. He said everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light lest his deeds be exposed. But so many are undeterred. These warnings won’t cause them to turn from the dangerous path they’re on and repent. To many, this is now the Christian life. A mixture of worshipping man and falsely swearing allegiance to this Jesus you have concocted in your mind. But things will come apart. Proverbs 4:19 says, “The way of the wicked is like darkness, they do not know what makes them stumble.” You can see them stumble and fall, and at the same time blame their injuries on someone else. Psalm 82:5 says,” They do not know nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable.” People make up their own rules. Interpret scripture to meet their needs. Cast off every warning seen by example throughout the Bible. Yet this encroaching evil and darkness does not scare us. It should. Everyone should be on their face before Him repenting and asking for mercy. But too many have become comfortable in this atmosphere that seeks to suffocate us. This darkness that is quenching the light that is necessary for life. We cannot be comfortable with what is happening in this country. In this world. It’s like Galadriel said in The Rings of Power, “Evil does not sleep, it waits. And in the moment of our complacency it blinds us.” And America’s spiritual vision is need of Holy Spirit ophthalmic surgery. So many are like those that Moses warned of in Deuteronomy 28. Their sins of disobedience and idol worship would cause them to be like a blind person groping about in the dark. This is happening now. It has been and is getting worse at a frightening speed. Jesus healed the spiritually blind also. We so need to press into Him and His word.

I cannot express the urgency needed to see how severe and destructive this darkness is, and also those who willingly walk in it, while calling others to follow them. Jesus said follow Me. You cannot serve two masters. There is only one true path of righteousness. Do not attempt to kindle your own fire or warm yourself by the fire of lies being lit everywhere today. The Moffat Translation of Isaiah 50:11 says to those who walk this path of darkness of their own making, “But you who kindle strife, set the world ablaze, begone to your flames, all of you, to the firebrands you have lighted! This is your fate from Me, to lie in torments.” I believe even the darkness longs for the light. The true light. For even the darkness once tasted of Him who created it. It’s those that embrace the tangible evil of darkness that fear what the light will bring. For they’ll have no part in its glory. Call on Him while it is still today. Embrace Him who is the only Way. Discard every lie and offered path that only leads to darkness. Blessings.

Born Again?

I’ve basically been avoiding touching on this topic. It’s a thorny issue. But I’ve felt a prompting for too long, so I’ll attempt to approach this with grace. A person close to me shared a conversation they had with someone, and it just baffled me. They asked why did they vote for Donald Trump? The person responded, “Because he is a born again Christian.” They then asked me if I agreed with that statement. I did my best to show what I believed being born again means. I did not address his salvation. Only God knows that for sure. But I want to be clear. There is a difference between saying you are “saved” and saying you are “born again.”

Jesus addressed being born again with Nicodemus in John 3. A better term is being “born from above.” We come to a place where we have a concept of who Christ is and who we are in Him. Are we seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness? Is Christ’s character starting to show in you? Can we honestly say we are doing our best to submit to His will? If you are, eventually it will be seen. As it states in Ephesians 2, you become dead to trespasses and sins. Man, I’m still working on that. Things you walked after in this world that fulfilled lust and desires, according to the prince of the power of the air, start to lose their hold on you. If we are actually walking as one in Christ, we have become a new creation. The old things have passed away. All things become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This new walk of being born again in Christ is contingent on a repentant heart. Truly putting off our old ways. Acts 3:19 says, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Repentance basically is a change of mind that results in a change of action. True repentance is prompted by Godly sorrow for our ways that do not align with Him, and it leads us to the path of salvation. One of the most glaring and contrary statements I heard from Donald Trump was that he felt he had nothing to repent of. If anyone tells you that or in essence states they are without sin, turn and walk from them. This is evidence of the prince of lies having a well-established stronghold in that person.  There can be no new birth without repentance. And that will be evidenced by our actions. By who we’ve asked to take residence within us. Our very nature will manifest the evidence of His presence in us and our walk with Him. It’s akin to checking in luggage on a plane. There are certain requirements as to the allowed baggage and its contents. That which we once walked in that does not align with Christ must be discarded. If not, we become like rotten fruit that should have been discarded, but we carry it with us. We become known by this very fruit. Its end is death.

Some people have no fear in using the name of God or saying they believe in Jesus for their own gain. It’s similar to what happened in Acts 8 where Simon the sorcerer saw the works being done by the apostles and offered to buy the work of the Holy Spirit and was severely rebuked by Peter. Peter told him to perish with his money, for he had no part or portion in this work, as your heart is not right with God. Peter told him to “repent of your wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see you that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” This is no different than those who so easily proclaim the name of Jesus for financial or political gain! It is no more than a means to an end. At least Simon the sorcerer had enough sense, and maybe holy fear, to ask that Peter would pray for him that these things would not come upon him. Not so with many today. You cannot use the name of Jesus in a political platform when none of the fruit is evident in your life. If you continue with wickedness, your sin will find you out. And those who follow you will face the same judgement, as they are complicit in their embracing that which should be rejected outright. I fear that just as Jeremiah said in chapter 7:28, “This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God nor receive correction.” We have been given all that pertains to life and goodness, yet follow that which in every part rejects Christ. And the Church is part and parcel to it. The words of Isaiah 47:10-11 say “For you have trusted in your wickedness; You say no one sees me; Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you; And you said in your heart, I am, and there is no one else besides me. Therefore, evil shall come upon you and you shall not know from where it arises. And trouble shall fall upon you and you will not be able to put it off.” I fear this is where we are. So much has been made evident, yet a large portion of this country and the Church continue to embrace a man who refuses to bend his knee to the Lord.  What was in you that caused you to follow that which is the antithesis of all that Jesus taught? Can we pay attention to what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. I think many are past that, and I just pray for His mercy and a spirit of repentance for this land. We need to hear the words in Proverbs 28 where we are warned that if we turn from hearing what is right, even our prayer is an abomination. But if we confess and forsake our wrong ways, we will have mercy.

We must walk as it says in Ephesians 4 as one worthy of which you were called to. Doing our best to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. No peace is possible when we walk contrary to His way. We cannot embrace being born from above and follow that which has no part in His kingdom. We cannot preach or use the name of Christ when selfish ambition is at the root. Put off all works of the enemy. Align yourself with Him alone. Walk in His love and truth. Avoid the unfruitful works of darkness and walk as children of light. Lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word that will save your souls. As it says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” It then adds that if we say we have not sinned, if we have no need for repentance, then His word is not in us. We know that whoever is born of God, whoever is born from above, lives their life for Him. To not sin. And to repent when we do and that the change in us will be evident. Do not allow anyone to minimize or put to shame what He did for us that we can be born again in Christ Jesus. Our very souls depend on the grasping of this. Embrace Him alone. Keep yourselves from idols. Blessings.


Many years ago, I was driving from Hartford to my home in East Hampton, Ct. It had just turned dark and the most dense fog one could imagine rolled in. Visibility was basically zero. Had my lights on regular, as high beams just made things worse. At one point I opened the door and looked down hoping to see the line in the road showing I wasn’t running off the road. Not a smart move. I could not see well enough to pull to wherever the side of the road was and I realized that if I didn’t try to keep moving, I could be a sitting duck for someone to run into me. And yes, I prayed for protection for myself and my wife. It took a long time to get through the worst of the fog, and I made it home safely, but I never forgot that experience. In fact, we are all going through that now. Intense fog is not just atmospheric.

Fog forms when water vapor, or water in a gaseous form, condenses. During condensation, molecules of water vapor combine to make tiny liquid water droplets that hang in the air, thus creating fog. This, in turn, effects and impairs our vision so that it’s difficult to see beyond 3 feet in intense fog. This has nothing to do with an impairment of the eye, but arises from normal variations of perception in the brain. In aviation, it’s called “spatial disorientation” or the “Mandelbaum Effect.” This can create a situation where we become so disoriented that we cannot tell if we are right side up or upside down. Failure to pay attention to what can happen in these foggy conditions can result in injury or death. It’s common.

As I stated, fog is not just atmospheric. It can be spiritual or cause mental impairment. We are at a place spiritually in this country and in the world where too many cannot distinguish between light and darkness. Vision is cloudy. Thought processes are impaired. And we have many who proclaim to be visionaries for the Lord who consistently speak from what they have seen with high beams on. Their fog is just amplified, and they are sharing what they believe to see with those who follow them. If we are not grounded in the Word and consistently watching and listening, we too will crash or be led astray. This fog creates uncertainty, isolation, confusion, blurring of reality. The easy exit door proclaimed by some leads only to self-condemnation and even death. God is not the author of confusion but of peace. Yet so many continue speaking prophetically when the only thing it brings is more chaos. The Moffatt Translation says of 1 Corinthians 14:32-3, “Prophets can control their own prophetic spirits, for God is not a God of disorder but of harmony.” Yet many still speak from the fog as if from clarity.

We are in a time where indecision as to Truth, and the inability to discern what is or is not His word, has allowed a steady fog to cover our land, principles, tenets and faith. This will become like that darkness in Exodus 10 that was palpable. Spiritual fog lights are needed. That starts with our steadily being before Him in prayer and repentance. Standing for His truth and speaking that same Truth to what is false. It’s easy to be tempted to follow along when so many notable voices speak something, even if contrary to scripture. But God is faithful and will make a way of escape so you will not be tempted. It’s staying before Him. Who do you follow? This is no different than people being misled by witchcraft in Acts 8. People believed a false messenger had the great power of God. But Phillip spoke of things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, and the people believed. What has caused us to stray from His truth? Just as Paul said to the Galatians, who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth? As Paul stated in 2 Timothy 4, there will be a time when people refuse to hear sound doctrine, and they’ll accumulate teachers to suit themselves and be turned from truth. Is that not where we are and have been for a while? How has a political system of nationalism and so much of the body of Christ joined hands? The historian John Meacham said “Politicians are more often mirrors of who we are rather than makers.” We are to be mirrors of Him alone. If it doesn’t line up with Him, walk away.

In Matthew 22, Jesus said we are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and we are to love your neighbor as yourself. That should keep us pretty much occupied and seeing correctly if we manage to do that. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. Even our vision. Planting seeds of division and confusion. Keeping us in a spiritual fog of his design. But the good shepherd has come that we would have life. More abundantly and with clarity. The steadfast in mind God will keep in perfect peace because you trust in Him. (Isaiah 26:3) So this all comes down to getting our directions from He who created everything. From He who gave His son for us that we would have abundant life. He has given us the ability to discern spiritually. He is our strength and our shield. Let our hearts trust in Him alone. Keep our spiritual eyes fixed on Him and see spiritual fog lift. Confusion will give way to spiritual and mental stability. I pray He lift any fog, any spiritual error from all who are caught up in this trap of uncertainty of thought, and that He set you on solid ground. Be assured that if you are in Him, you have the mind of Christ. Blessings.


This seems to be an appropriate time to speak of thorns. It seems so much has become what we define as a “thorny issue.” People are seen as ones with a thorny personality. Easily provoked or perturbed. Seen as “prickly types.” So many topics cannot be rationally discussed. It’s as if we touch a thorn and it immediately draws blood. Anger ensues. Sometimes causing permanent rifts. But the primary purpose of a thorn is for protection. It keeps away herbivores. But now we have become like thorns and bristle at the approach of anything that does not line up with what we think or the precepts of those we may follow. Those same thorns that we protect ourselves with will also pierce us.

This is the time of year that we, as Christians, set aside as especially holy. Easter. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Taking our sins on His body that we might have life. And more. But I find our celebration of this as somewhat incongruous with how we comport ourselves. At no time in my life have I seen such rampant discord, strife and hate throughout this world and even among those who claim membership in the body of Christ. Divisions in the church so often based on politics, race, eroding of civil rights, following those who reject the basic tenets of what Christ taught, and the growing attempt to gain more power from a worldly view. These are the actions of double minded people. Unstable in all their ways. Loving the wages of unrighteousness. They promise you liberty in Jesus, when they themselves are slaves to corruption. They look to bring you into bondage with the error they follow.

In Matthew 27 and John 19, the Roman soldiers did the bidding of the people who wanted Jesus crucified. They made a crown of thorns and fashioned it into a mockery of the crown a king would wear. It symbolized that which would choke out the words of the Lord like stated in Matthew 13 with the parable of the sower. Rather than a crown that speaks to glory, wisdom and kingdom living, it speaks to materialism, cares of the world, anger, jealousy, and hatred. It mocked the authority of Jesus and looked to humiliate and dishonor Him. These thorns could be 3 inches long. They were twisted into His head. They then took a reed and hit Jesus on the head, further driving the thorns into Him. Even His head was pierced for us. For our thoughts. The evil machinations our minds can plot. To rid us of all sickness of the mind. Double mindedness. Anxiety. Fear. Bi-polar. Schizophrenia, Narcissism. Harboring revenge and hatred of our neighbor we were told to love. We need to apprehend that which He took for us. Or, will we be like Peter who said he would die for Jesus but only realized how far from Christ he was when his conscience was pricked by the thorn of regret when the rooster crowed?

Proverbs 20:5 states that “Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.” He has given us all that is necessary to discern right from wrong. Lies from truth. The word of the Lord from that which has been twisted and perverted like the thorns that pierced the head of Jesus. He kept His mind on that which was before Him. And we are to have the mind of Christ. If so, we are to put off the old man who once was fully now embracing Christ. As it says in Colossians 3, we must clothe ourselves with tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another. Forgiving. Put on love and let the peace of God rule in your heart. If we walk in these things, the lies and disagreements that fill the air will not penetrate our minds. We will cast down all arguments and thoughts that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. No tormenting spirit should have access to our thoughts. Those who spread a gospel of hate and division are of the world, and though the world hears them, they have no part in us. We are of God.

Do not think it strange that these evil thoughts and words have gained in intensity. Be extra serious and watchful in your prayers. Love one another. Be hospitable. Minister to one another. Avoid senseless arguments. Rightly discern the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Have no part in the lies which only seek to bring more division. Cast off all fear. That spirit cannot reside in us. Cast out fear by embracing His love. These are trying times but we are overcomers. Keep your mind fixed on Him. He was pierced by those thorns that we would be able to withstand every onslaught attacking our mind. And we have this promise, that if we persevere, we will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. Not one of thorns to torment, but a crown of an everlasting kingdom and kinship with our Father. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  And please open your hearts for extra prayer for Ukraine.  Blessings.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Sic Semper Tyrannis. Thus always to tyrants. This has been said numerous times. Even when wrongly stated as by John Wilkes Booth. But this applies in full accuracy to Putin of Russia.

There have been many leaders from Russia who wielded great power intermingled with fear and cruelty. From Ivan the Terrible to Lenin, to Stalin and even the man called Stalin’s Himmler, Lavrentiy Beria. And now we have another force of evil in Vladimir Putin. But this tyranny has been the way throughout history and it seems that Russia has had a lion’s share. Mahatma Gandhi said, “There have always been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it always.” I pray the time is soon.

In Micah 2:1-2 it says,” Woe to those who devise iniquity and work out evil on their beds! At morning they practice it because it is in the power of their hand. They covet field and take them by violence, also houses and seize them. They oppress a man, his house and his inheritance.” But then Micah goes on to say that the Lord is devising disaster from which such as these cannot remove their necks. It seems that so many people like Putin go forth believing that their actions are without consequences. I’m referring to eternal consequences. As if they are not seen. In the Amplified Translation of Proverbs 6, the Lord says He hates “A proud look (the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others), a lying tongue and hands that shed innocent blood.” But men like Putin have no regard for God’s word. They are like brute beasts who speak evil of things they do not understand and they’ll utterly perish in their own corruption. They will leave a bloody stain on their place in history. And those who align themselves with this evil and make excuses for it will answer for their folly. As will those who condone those wrongly supporting this grievous sin.

In the meantime, it seems like people in Ukraine have to continue through this horror. And there are other nations that wonder if this terror awaits them by Putin. I’ve been in prayer for this for weeks now. It’s as if one can hear these people in Ukraine asking, “How long O Lord? Will you forget me forever? (Psalm 13:4) Yet, I feel the heartfelt words of David still apply here. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear. The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”(Psalm 27) “I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34) And, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the time of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.”(Nahum 1:7) It’s easier to cite those verses when bombs are not falling on you, but we must make it a point to align our prayers and faith with those who are in the midst of this vicious onslaught.

A reckoning is coming. Sic semper Tyrannis. God is not mocked. What one sows, he will reap. The Lord says in Isaiah 13 that He will punish the wicked for their iniquity and that He would cause the arrogance of the proud to cease. He would also lay low the haughtiness of the terrible and the boasting of the violent and the ruthless. This warning addresses more than just Putin. What I feel applies to Putin was prophesied in Isaiah 14:9 saying, “Hell from beneath is excited about you, To meet you at your coming.” Those like Putin have no regard for God or His ways. They have no trouble crushing those who call on the Lord. I pray that the Lord confound Putin’s way so that he errs in his decisions and they backfire on him. I pray people rise up and stand against him. In Ukraine, Russia and throughout the world. But the ways of Putin I hate with a perfect hatred. I pray the words spoken in Jeremiah 15:21 over Ukraine. “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked. And I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.” Stay in prayer. Seek Him always. This darkness is not far from us and has crept into areas many pay no concern to. He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Put on your armor. Blessings.