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.

We Have Loosed the Locusts

There is nothing new under the sun. We learn not from our mistakes and so willingly commit the same ones again. Though we sometimes try to put a new spin on them, hoping we can somehow put on a cloak of invisibility and go unnoticed by Heaven above. We have done our best to make God in our own image, thereby negating His decree to make man in His image. And so many look upon what they have unleashed and they call it good and they line up to defend sin to their own detriment.

“People what have you done? Locked Him in His golden cage, golden cage. Made Him bend to your religion, Him – resurrected from the grave, from the grave. He is the God of nothing if that’s all you can see. You are the God of everything. He’s inside you and me.” (Lyrics to My God by Jethro Tull) We do this very thing in allowing Him to be used to advance an agenda that is man- made and ego driven. No matter that so many purport to believe in Him, it has become common to see those who were once seemingly in a place of standing, just use His name as a stamp of approval for their agenda.

I look at so many ministries that have put God’s stamp of approval on whatever they set out to do. There is a frightening nationalism that has been fully embraced by a large percentage of the church. Many in the church believe that aligning with political interests will cement and strengthen their power. No matter the cost. To the degree, that in some circles, the word “evangelical” evokes one who will go to any extreme to gain strength. Warnings from the word about false teachers and prophets who cause many to take their eyes off the teachings of Christ go unheeded. The worship of that which has no place in Him goes forth without shame. Those once considered fringe or extreme elements are now emboldened, and now openly work hand in hand with those who say they follow Christ. Jeremiah 8:12 says “They are not ashamed, nor do they know how to blush. Therefore, they shall fall among those who fall; In their time of punishment, they shall be cast down, says the Lord.” Yet, still so many in the church have embraced a doctrine that shackles millions of people in order to get what they want enacted. They knowingly align with a growing autocracy that limits who can vote and how one can vote. Rights that were fought for and that people died for are now being dismantled. Especially among people of color. Racism and anti-Semitism is increasing at an alarming rate. Yet, we have divided ourselves as those who feel this is acceptable, no matter the evil being perpetrated, and those who stand against this injustice. Lies have become so pervasive, yet the church will not stand against this, even for righteousness sake. How can that be? Abolishing and negating civil rights and voting rights is akin to removing ancient landmarks. There are curses listed in Deuteronomy 28 for that sin. Blessings for justice, honesty, equity and integrity. Choose wisely.

Repercussions for disobeying God’s word are profound. Idolatry has always been at the forefront. And worship of a man, who is the antithesis of all Jesus stood and died for, leads only to judgement. Joel chapter 1:4 says “What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; What the swarming locust has left, the crawling locust has eaten; And what the crawling locust has left, the consuming locust has eaten.” These types of locusts speak to the different stages of the locust. From a pupa, a gnawer that cuts short, to a swarming locust that multiplies. Then a devouring stage, and finally that which totally consumes. As it says in James 1, we are tempted and are drawn after that which is not Christ and this births sins which when conceived, brings death. Coming judgement will be a direct result of our spiritual condition. Nahum 3:15 says “The fire will devour you, the sword will cut you off. It will eat you up like the locust.” Our idolatry has become a fire burning through the temple where we are to worship Him. I speak of our hearts. False doctrine and hatred have chewed and consumed us like the plague of locusts. Sheep are being devoured by ravenous wolves, many who claim to speak for God. And many who claim to know the truth are paralyzed by fear and refuse to stand up and be counted. They fear the threats of being ostracized and even killed. Only our adversary, satan, can be the author of this evil. Hopefully, our adversity will elicit cries for rescue and direction from the Lord. We are allowing the word to be stolen from our hearts by the continual gnawing of lies saying we’re still in His will. We are not. We refuse to attest to how this evil has increased and is now at the stage where it’s consuming us.

This is not just a prophetic allegory for 2022. Nor does this refer to Revelations Chapter 9. This is a warning for where we are now, and have been, and continue to be. We hold up our bibles to quote from the “good book” yet refuse to learn from the lessons it shows us. So many believe you can just call on the name of Jesus, as if you’re rubbing Buddha’s belly, and then all will be fine. All the while, the gnawing, devouring, and consuming locusts have taken up residence in your domain. We’ve not carefully tended the garden that represents our relationship with the Lord. We are responsible for the locusts being released. The locusts of greed, idolatry, hatred, racism, and walking contrary to Christ are gnawing away at our ability to discern truth. Jesus said in Luke 21 that tumultuous times and times of pestilence will come. The Greek word for pestilence is “Loimos.” It means pestilence, pest or plague. We are seeing that and will see more. We may see more than 1 million deaths from covid, yet how to deal with it has become a hot button issue, which many in the church seem to think is a political issue.We need to remember that the Lord has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him. We are to stand apart and be separate. We are to partake of His divine nature, thereby escaping the corruption that is in the world. That which tries to get us to take our eyes off Him will darken the skies, just as the locusts did in Exodus 10. Keep your eyes on Him. I pray His light shines in every dark place that may cause you to stumble. I pray that fervently for myself as well. Blessings.


I spoke on the topic of friendship more than ten years ago at The Healing Rooms. I recently heard someone speak on an important point in my message.  I was bothered by that person’s view of the Jonathan and David relationship in 1 Samuel, so I decided to address the topic of friendship again. It’s sorely needed today.

A friend is a person attached by feelings of affection or personal regard. One who is on good terms. Not hostile. A supporter. One who gives assistance. One who is a companion, a helper, confidant, benevolent, trusting, faithful, trustworthy and seeks peace rather than discord. One cannot be trusting if they are not trustworthy. This sounds like an overview of Philippians 4. So, think on these things. We must all set an example, be it in our homes, workplace and especially our church.

Jesus said in John 15, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” He laid before His disciples a new pattern of friendship to follow. Trust and sharing. Giving of oneself, even knowing they would fail Him. And He went a step further in that He told His disciples “This is My commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.” This would even entail laying down one’s life for his friends. The friendship this love required is a friendship of spiritual purity. We are to imitate Him. In 1 John 4, we see we love God because He first loved us. If you cannot love your brother, if you cannot maintain a healthy friendship, then how can you love God who commanded us to show this love and friendship. And it must be demonstrated not just by words, but by our actions.

1 Peter 3 says we are to be of one mind, having compassion for one another and to be tenderhearted and courteous. Not reviling or overly critical or looking to pay evil for evil. By doing these things, no matter how tough it may seem, we inherit a blessing. We make the mistake of believing that by being part of a church, all will automatically be fine. But we are often walking into systems and schedules. Man-made hierarchies. Where do we fit in? Needs are not always met and we lose sight of the individuals. We cannot lose sight of doing our individual part in developing and maintaining friendships in the body of Christ. Jesus never lost sight of this. He didn’t get lost in the shuffle. He was a friend to all. The tax collector. The woman by the well. The leper. To all shunned by the church. They said He was a friend of the worst sort of sinners. Wisdom is shown to be right by what results from it.Christ showed that.

A foreshadowing of Jesus’ love for His disciples and the church was seen in the friendship of David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel. Jonathan recognized the call of God on David’s life and made a covenant with him. By doing this, he was also relinquishing any assumed right to the throne from his father Saul. He willingly took off his robe, along with his armor, sword, bow and belt, and gave it to David. This not only showed his friendship, but it showed Jonathan laid himself bare before his friend. Nothing hidden. No envy or self-seeking. Only true friendship and sacrifice. He put his life on the line knowing his father Saul would disapprove and maybe kill him. He feared God more than man. So many in ministry today would rather hold onto their positions rather than equip the saints, especially if it might mean they will be ‘seen’ less. Lose the spotlight. No words were more telling of Jesus’ love for His disciples than David speaking of his love for Jonathan after Jonathan’s death. He said, “Your love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women.” There is a connection made with true friendship that is hard to properly articulate, but David managed to voice more than words.

Friendship does not shy from adversity. Jesus said in Luke 12:8, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of man also will confess before the angels of God.” He said this knowing that He would be betrayed. Peter said he’d die for Him. Our natural self speaks, but our inner spiritual self can only answer when put to the test. Many have emotional love. It touches our natural self. But it doesn’t penetrate the spirit of a person. Jesus’ love and friendship was manifested by His actions. Jesus said we can show no greater love than laying down our lives for our friends. It’s much easier to die than to lay down your life. Especially day in and day out. We do this when we take up our cross. Our natural desires cannot attain this level of love and friendship. It is based on a new life He creates in us. We become a new creation. Jesus is the blueprint for establishing and maintaining friendship and it’s devoid of selfish desires or our own reasoning. A friend loves at all times. In order to show God’s love to others and be a friend, we must be in right relationship with Him. The Message Bible says “God friendship is for God worshippers. They are the ones He confides in. Like with Abraham and Moses. God called them friends. I realize that’s a pretty high bar, but we must endeavor to establish all friendships based on His model. Oswald Chambers said, “We must never allow anything to damage our relationship with God, but if something does damage it, we must take the time to make it right again. The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influences and qualities produced by that relationship.” We are representatives of Him wherever we go and in all we do. Our world today lacks so much of what is required of us in showing a Christlike character. So many are at odds and contention abounds. And sadly, we seem to easily follow and become entangled with things that just sow discord. In so doing, we also damage our personal walk with God. I refuse to hear certain nastiness said by some and believe they represent Christ. Especially from the pulpit. As I’ve said many times, walk away from them. We must pursue what is good for yourself and others. Be patient with one another. Pursue what is good. Serve one another. One too often takes what is a gift for granted with friendship. As seen in John 21 after Jesus’ resurrection, He appears to them while they are fishing. They have lost hope. He fixes them breakfast. Not one of the disciples said a word. They knew it was the Lord, but said nothing. Not forgive us, not I love you. Jesus had already said to Mary Magdalene to tell His disciples…and Peter that he would see them. Only forgiveness and love. So, Jesus reminds them to “Follow Him and to feed His sheep.” He’s saying those same words to us. Love one another as I loved you. I call you friend. We must grasp that true friendship is a rarity that must be treasured. Avoid contentions and division. Be kind to one another. Forgive one another just as Christ forgave you. Serve one another and have fervent love for one another. If we say we house the Holy Spirit, we must also walk in the Spirit. Do all things as unto Him.  By this, you will cultivate a garden that allows friendship to grow. Blessings.