#MeTooMen #ChurchToo

… on my Twitter feed the other day, there were many stories about a ‘pastor’ of a mega-church, Highpoint Church in Memphis, TN, who confessed to a ‘sexual incident’ that involved a teenager that he abused when he was a youth pastor many years ago.  the girl was 17 yrs old at the time.

… as i am very concerned for the condition of the universal church and body of Christ, i was curious to find out what this particular ‘church’ was saying.  i looked up their Facebook account and started reading the feeds.

… what i read shocked me.

…  people were writing that they were driving hours and hours to come to this weeks service in support of Andy, the man who admitted that he had sexually assaulted a 17 yr old girl 20 yrs earlier.

.. i read comments like; “she’s lying, Andy is a good guy.” and “she’s just looking for attention.”

.. i responded that maybe she was looking for the attention she should have received when she was abused 20 years ago.  and i posted a scripture.

Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; who make darkness light, and light darkness; who make bitter sweet, and sweet bitter. Woe to them that are wise in their own conceit, and knowing in their own sight.
Isaiah 5:20–21

… when i went back i found that they had blocked me.  i find it interesting that the church would block me for posting words from the Bible that they claim they follow, but it is not the first time, and i doubt it will be the last.

… the thing is …

“i believe her.”

… and why shouldn’t i?  Mr. Andy only gave a public apology in front of the ”whole’ church’ AFTER she had made a public post as part of the #MeToo movement against the sexual abuse by people in power.  it was only AFTER Mr. Andy had posted on his social media in support of Matt Lauer, another sexual abusing man who also said he was sorry, (but i didn’t do that).

… and you see, i am a 52 yr old man, and i have a story from when i was a 15 yr old freshman in high school myself.  i already hear the screams ‘get over it.’ and i have, but just because 37 years have gone by, doesn’t mean i have forgotten, or that it hasn’t played an effect on different decisions i have made throughout my entire life..

… in 1979 i was a freshman in high school, attending a private boarding school called St. Paul’s College High, in Concordia, MO.  when i was in 7th grade, i had an encounter with the LORD that dramatically changed the course of my life.  i was only 12, but i was happy and content, and i loved people.  i spent a lot of my spare time reading my Bible, and although my mother and step father took us to our Missouri Synod Lutheran Church every Sunday, they weren’t happy with my new found happiness. 🙂

… so they took me to our pastor so that he would straighten me out.  the pastor had suggested that i was called into the ministry, and he suggested that i look into this High School that also had a two year College on the same campus whose entire focus was pre-ministerial.

… due to a law suit where my father didn’t pay my mother any child support for like 7 years, he agreed to pay for my 4 years of private boarding school education and she agreed to not pursue the entire debt.  i enrolled and started classes – wonderful classes in Old Testament studies, Greek studies, Hebrew studies, New Testament, Geometry,  – anyways, i though i was close to heaven.  remember, i’m just 15 at the time.

… i found out that the majority of High School students were rich kids who were trouble makers, whose parents sent them to this school so that the school would deal with them.  the High School was supposed to be geared towards the ministry, but it seemed that only the college students were actually serious about the things of God.

… there were some extra-curricular activities of praise and worship, Bible studies, etc. that some of the college students were leading and i and one other HS student got permission to hang out with the college group.  the college group had plans to travel to Chicago, IL around Christmas time and attend a conference called Evangelism Explosion.  we were going to spend a day of ‘door to door’ evangelism, and spend some time at O’Hare International Airport, busiest in the world at that time, doing ‘evangelism.’

… the plan was that the students would all break up into two’s and be assigned to different host houses from the church we would be visiting for the seminars.  me being the youngest person in the group (5 years younger than most) i was assigned to a big house that had enough room to house 4 people, 2 rooms with bunk-beds.  and it just so happened that i was assigned with the 3 male college sophomore leaders of the entire group from St. Paul’s.

… when we broke into rooms, i was in a room with the assistant to the assistant.  he took the bottom bunk and we went to bed.  as i remember it was cold, it was Chicago in December, and he asked me if i wanted to get into bed with him as we could stay warmer.  my 15 year old self thought this college man made sense so i did.  today, in 2018, it sounds absolutely ridiculous, but back in 1979 Mid-Western America, to even consider that something was wrong – was just wrong.

… i’m not going to go into details, but lets just say that after numerous attempts to say no (not verbally as i recall, just no consent) i ended up doing things i did not want to, and when he went to the restroom to clean himself up, i got dressed and ran to the room of the two head leaders and told them what had happened.

… they told me i was wrong, that the guy who just abused me was engaged to be married, and i must have misunderstood the whole thing.  they sent me back to the room, where i got back into the top bunk and waited for my abuser to come back to the room.

… of course i’ve never mentioned this before.  why would i?  but 37 years later, i can think of thousands of things in my life that were forever changed on that night, mostly because people with authority over me, abused me twice.  once physically, the second time mentally – by victim blaming.  the shame, “how dare you say something so evil against such a good person!”

… and so i will loudly now say, that

I believe Jules Woodson. STOP the victim blaming.  SHAME on you who call yourself the Church of Jesus the Man called Christ.

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
2 Timothy 3:12–13

.. googling Global Thermonuclear War…

SHALL WE PLAY A GAME?

… 34 years ago, in 1983, a movie came out starring Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, and Ally Sheedy, called Wargames about a young computer hacker named David Lightman (Broderick) who wants to hack into a video game manufacturers computer to play a video game before it is released to the public.  using an old-style acoustic coupler modem to access the internet, young David finds a computer hooked to the internet in Sunnyvale, California which seems to have some games in it that he wants to play.  he finds out that the computer he hacks into is actually the WOPR (War Operation Plan Response), a United States military supercomputer originally programmed to predict possible outcomes of nuclear war.

… i was a senior in High School then and many, many things have changed since that time.  at that time the governments of the Eastern Bloc and the governments of the Western Bloc were in a state of geopolitical tension called the Cold War. even though we had ‘duck and cover nuclear bomb drills‘ in school, we felt relatively secure because of the doctrine of mutually assured destruction – basically, ‘if you throw bombs at me, i will throw bombs at you, and neither one of us will survive.’

Stephen Falken: The whole point was to find a way to practice nuclear war without destroying ourselves. To get the computers to learn from mistakes we couldn’t afford to make. Except, I never could get Joshua to learn the most important lesson.
David Lightman: What’s that?
Stephen Falken: Futility. That there’s a time when you should just give up.
Jennifer: What kind of a lesson is that?
Stephen Falken: Did you ever play tic-tac-toe?
Jennifer: Yeah, of course.
Stephen Falken: But you don’t anymore.
Jennifer: No.
Stephen Falken: Why?
Jennifer: Because it’s a boring game. It’s always a tie.
Stephen Falken: Exactly. There’s no way to win. The game itself is pointless! But back at the war room, they believe you can win a nuclear war. That there can be “acceptable losses.”

… we started the drills after this country dropped atomic bombs on Japan, ending World War II where this country killed 90,000146,000 people in Hiroshima and 39,000–80,000 in Nagasaki.  we were taught that as long as we were the only country evil enough to drop an atomic bomb, then the world would stay relatively secure from the threat of nuclear annihilation.

… the Cold War ended in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union.

… the recent news has caused me to Google things i would prefer not to.  things like;

  • how many nuclear weapons does North Korea have?
  • how many nuclear weapons does Russia have?
  • what is global thermonuclear war?
  • what is a tomahawk missile?
  • how many tomahawk missiles did the US drop on Syria?
  • how much stock does the US President have in the company that builds tomahawk missiles?
  • why is the US Government spending more than the next 8 nations combined on it’s military?
  • how many continents does the US have military bases on?
  • do polls in Russia really say that Russia should retaliate against the US for bombing Syria unprovoked?
  • what is a MOAB bomb, and is it really the largest weapon on the planet that is NOT a nuclear weapon?
  • was the US President really golfing when he ordered the destruction of Afghanistan with the MOAB bomb?

  • did the Vice President of the USA really go to the DMZ and threaten North Korea?
  • how long will it take for an atomic bomb to reach the US mainland once it is deployed from North Korea? Russia? China?
  • has the US really killed over 30,000,000 people on earth since WWII?
  • did the US really start wars in Iraq and Afghanistan based on lies?
  • how many did the US kill because of those lies?
  • does the US have any real friends left in the world that President Trump has not insulted or just plain pissed off?

… so many questions.  but the biggest question in my mind is;

do people in the United States of America know that their nation is the nation in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ that is known as Babylon and that their destruction will take place ‘in a day’ unless they ‘change their minds’?

And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.” Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed. As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’ For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”” (Revelation 18:2–8, ESV)

“how about a nice game of chess?”

… prophets …

… i was reading in The Shepherd of Hermas, which is purported to have been written by a church leader around the year 95 AD or so.  he had some interesting things to say about prophets..
MANDATE 11

43. He showed me men seated on a bench, and another man seated on a chair. And he said to me, “Do you see those men seated on the bench?” “I see them, sir,” I replied. “These,” he said, “are faithful, but the one seated on the chair is a false prophet who destroys the mind of God’s servants; that is, he destroys the mind of the double-minded, not of believers. (2) These double-minded ones come to him as to a fortune teller, and ask him what will happen to them. And that false prophet, not having the power of a divine spirit in himself, answers them in accordance with their questions and their wicked desires, and fills their souls just as they themselves wish. (3) For since he himself is empty, he gives empty answers to empty inquirers, for no matter what is asked, he answers according to the emptiness of the man asking. But he does speak some true words, for the devil fills him with his own spirit, to see if he will be able to break down any of the righteous. (4) So, those who are strong in the faith of the Lord, having clothed themselves with the truth, do not associate with such spirits, but have nothing to do with them. But   P 407  those who are double-minded and frequently change their minds practice fortune telling like the pagans and bring greater sin upon themselves by their idolatries. For the one who consults a false prophet on any matter is an idolator and lacks the truth and is senseless. (5) For no spirit given by God needs to be consulted; instead, having the power of deity, it speaks everything on its own initiative, because it is from above, from the power of the divine Spirit. (6) But the spirit that is consulted and which answers according to the desires of the people consulting it is earthly and fickle, and has no power, and does not speak at all unless it is asked.” (7) “So how, sir,” I asked, “will a man know which of them is a prophet, and which is a false prophet?” “Hear,” he said, “about both the prophets, and on the basis of what I am going to tell you, you can test the prophet and false prophet. Determine the man who has the divine Spirit by his life. (8) In the first place the one who has the divine Spirit from above is gentle and quiet and humble, and stays away from all evil and futile desires of this age, and considers himself to be poorer than others, and gives no answer to anyone when consulted. Nor does he speak on his own (nor does the Holy Spirit speak when a man wants to speak), but he speaks when God wants him to speak. (9) So, then, when the man who has the divine Spirit comes into an assembly of righteous men who have faith in a divine Spirit, and intercession is made to God by the assembly of those men, then the angel of the prophetic spirit which is assigned to him fills the man, and being filled with the Holy Spirit the man speaks to the multitude, just as the Lord wills. (10) In this way, then, the Spirit of the Deity will be obvious. Such, therefore, is the power of discernment with respect to the divine Spirit of the Lord.”
(11) “Now hear,” he said, “about the earthly and worthless spirit, which has no power but is foolish. (12) In the first place, that man who thinks he has a spirit exalts himself and wants to have a seat of honor, and immediately is arrogant and shameless and talkative and well acquainted with many luxuries and with many other pleasures, and receive money for his prophesying, and if he does not receive money, he does not prophesy.   p 409  Now, can a divine spirit receive money and still prophesy? It is impossible for a prophet of God to do this, but the spirit of such prophets who do so is earthly. (13) Next, he never comes near an assembly of righteous men; instead he avoids them, and associates with the double-minded and the empty-headed, and prophesies to them in a corner and deceives them; everything he says is in accordance with their own desires and characterized by his own empty manner, for he is answering those who are empty. For the empty vessel placed together with other empty vessels is not broken, but they match one another. (14) But when he comes to an assembly full of righteous men who have a divine Spirit, and intercession is made by them, that man is emptied and the earthly spirit flees from him in fear, and that man is rendered speechless and is completely shattered, unable to say a thing. (15) For if you store wine or oil in a storeroom and place an empty jar in among them and then later you wish to clear out the storeroom, you will find that empty jar you placed there still empty. So it is with empty prophets; whenever they encounter the spirits of the righteous, they are found to be just as they were when they arrived. (16) You now have descriptions of the life of both kinds of prophets. Therefore test by his life and his actions the man who claims that he is spirit-inspired. (17) Put your trust in the Spirit that comes from God and has power, but do not trust in any way the earthly and empty spirit, because it has no power, for it comes from the devil. (18) Listen to the parable I am about to tell you. Take a stone and throw it toward the sky; see if you can reach it. Or, for another example, take a water pump and squirt it toward the sky; see if you can penetrate it.” (19) “How,” I asked, “can these things be, sir? For both these things you just said are impossible.” “Well then,” he said, “just as these things are impossible, so also are the earthly spirits powerless and weak. (20) Now take the power that comes from above. A hailstone is a very small pellet, but when it falls on a man’s head, what pain it causes! Or, for another example, take a drop that falls on the ground from the roofing tiles, and wears a hole in the rock. (21) You see, then, that even the smallest things from above falling on the earth have great power; so also the divine Spirit that comes from above is powerful. So put your trust in this Spirit, but have nothing to do with the other one.

Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, Updated ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999).

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:26 AM April 01, 2017.

 

Then the Lord said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine! As for the people to whom they prophesy—their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one left to bury them. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters—all will be gone. For I will pour out their own wickedness on them.” (Jeremiah 14:14–16, NLT)

… blasphemous mouth …

The beast was given a mouth speaking
proud words and blasphemies,
and he was permitted to exercise ruling authority
for forty-two months. So the beast
opened his mouth to blaspheme against God—
to blaspheme both his name and his dwelling place,
that is, those who dwell in heaven.

(Revelation 13:5–6, NET)

Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference

… 21seconds in “the second time I was great.”
“We’ve done very well with the Evangelicals, and with religion generally speaking.”
4.20s “… the happiest people are the people that have that great religious feel, and that incredible marriage …”
5.19s “We must continue to forge our partnership with Israel, and work to insure Israel’s security.”

.. at 6.34s President Trump says that his opponent in the election wanted to increase the number of refugees coming to this country, at which the ‘good christians’ booed, except for one lady who shouted over and over “refugees are welcome here”, mostly drowned out by people shouting “Trump, Trump” and “USA, USA”, who was quickly carried out of the room …

15.09s “I’m going to turn things around.”

17.42s “We will put America first.” to cheers and applause.
19.15s “We will respect and defend Christian Americans, Christian Americans.”

Family Leadership Summit

“But have you ever asked God for forgiveness?”

“I’m not sure I have, I just try to do a better job from there, I don’t think so.” President Trump  “I don’t bring God into that picture.”

2.07s “Straight question; what is your relationship with God?”
“Well I pray, I go to church, I do things that are wrong, I guess.  You know I’m a business person, I really do well at business, I’ve done great, I’ve made some of the great deals, I own some, I own some of the greatest properties of the world … I think god helped me.  You know, God helped me by giving me a certain brain, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, you know I went through a phenomenal school…”

Anderson Cooper Interview about Repentance

“I had the biggest standing ovation, the biggest standing ovation.”  “… when you don’t make such bad things that you have to ask for forgiveness…. I try to lead a life where you don’t have to ask God for forgiveness.” “Why do you have to ask for forgiveness if you’re not making mistakes?  I work hard.  I’m an honorable person.”

The David Packman Show

.59s “…Proverbs, the chapter, never bend to envy, I’ve had that thing all of my life.” President Trump

“… it is confusing that the Bible is Donald Trump’s favorite book, second favorite book, but the one Bible verse he refers to doesn’t seem to exist.” … “It is obvious to me that Donald Trump does not care about the Bible.”

Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them, for their hearts devise violence, and their lips talk of trouble.” (Proverbs 24:1–2, ESV)

 

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8–10, ESV)

 

blas•pheme  \blas-ˈfēm, ˈblas-ˌ\  verb
blas•phemed; blas•phem•ing
[Middle English blasfemen, from Late Latin blasphemare — more at BLAME]
(14th century)
transitive verb
1 : to speak of or address with irreverence
2 : REVILE, ABUSE
intransitive verb
: to utter blasphemy
— blas•phem•er  \-ˈfē-mər; ˈblas-ˌfē-mər, -fə-mər\  noun

blas•phe•mous  \ˈblas-fə-məs\  adjective
(15th century)
: impiously irreverent : PROFANE
— blas•phe•mous•ly adverb
— blas•phe•mous•ness noun

blas•phe•my  \ˈblas-fə-mē\  noun
plural blas•phe•mies
(13th century)
1 a : the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God
b : the act of claiming the attributes of deity
2 : irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolab

(Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1996).)

βλασφημέω impf. ἐβλασφήμουν; 1 aor. ἐβλασφήμησα. Pass.: 1 fut. βλασφημηθήσομαι; 1 aor. ἐβλασφημήθην (s. next two entries; Pla. et al.; PSI 298, 14; LXX; Alex., Ep. XVI 2f; TestJob 16:7; AssMos Fgm. j p. 67 Denis; Philo, Joseph., Just.) prim. ‘to demean through speech’, an esp. sensitive matter in an honor-shame oriented society. to speak in a disrespectful way that demeans, denigrates, maligns
ⓐ in relation to humans slander, revile, defame (Isocr. 10, 45 w. λοιδορεῖν) τινά someone (Socrat., Ep. 22, 2; Chion, Ep. 7, 1 ἡμᾶς) μηδένα (Philo, Spec. Leg. 4, 197; Jos., Vi. 232; Hippol., Ref. 7, 32, 6) speak evil of Tit 3:2. Pass. Ro 3:8; 1 Cor 4:13 v.l.; 10:30 (ὑπὲρ οὗ = ὑπ. τούτου ὑπ. οὗ); Dg 5:14. Abs. Ac 13:45; 18:6.
ⓑ in relation to transcendent or associated entities slander, revile, defame, speak irreverently/impiously/disrespectfully of or about
α. a Gr-Rom. deity (for Gr-Rom. attitudes respecting deities Ps.-Pla., Alc. II 149c; Diod S 2, 21, 7; Philo, Spec. Leg. 1, 53; Jos., Ant. 4, 207, C. Apion 2, 237 [s. βλασφημία bγ]; Orig., C. Cels. 8, 43, 27; s. bε below and at the very end of the entry) τὴν θεὸν ἡμῶν Ac 19:37.
β. God in Israelite/Christian tradition (4 Km 19:4) τὸν θεόν (cp. Philo, Fuga 84b; Jos., Ant. 4, 202; 6, 183; Hippol., Ref. 7, 11) Rv 16:11, 21. Abs. (2 Macc 10:34; 12:14; Orig., C. Cels. 8, 43, 31; Hippol., Ref. 1, Pr. 2) Mt 9:3; 26:65 (JKennard, Jr., ZNW 53, ’62, 25–51); Mk 2:7; J 10:36; Ac 26:11; 1 Ti 1:20; 1 Pt 4:4 (the last 3 passages may be interpr. as not referring exclusively to God). βλασφημίαι, ὅσα ἐὰν βλασφημήσωσιν whatever impious slanders they utter Mk 3:28 (cp. Pla., Leg. 7, 800c βλ. βλασφημίαν; Tob 1:18 S).
γ. God’s name Ro 2:24 (contrast the approval expressed OGI 339, 30); 2 Cl 13:2a; ITr 8:2b (all three Is 52:5); 1 Ti 6:1; Rv 13:6; 16:9; 2 Cl 13:1, 2b (quot. of unknown orig.), 4; Hs 6, 2, 3 v.l.
δ. God’s Spirit εἰς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον Mk 3:29; Lk 12:10. On impious slander of the Holy Spirit s. WWeber, ZWT 52, 1910, 320–41; HWindisch, in Porter-Bacon Festschr. 1928, 218–21; EBuonaiuti, Ricerche Religiose 6, 1930, 481–91; OEvans, ET 68, ’57, 240–44; GFitzer, TZ 13, ’57, 161–82; JWilliams, NTS 12, ’65, 75–77; CColpe, JJeremias Festschr., ’70, 63–79.
ε. Christ Mt 27:39; Mk 15:29; Lk 23:39; ἕτερα πολλὰ β. 22:65 (cp. Vett. Val. 67, 20 πολλὰ βλασφημήσει θεούς). τὸν κύριον Hs 8, 6, 4; 8, 8, 2; 9, 19, 3; ISm 5:2; εἰς τ. κύριον Hv 2, 2, 2; Hs 6, 2, 4; τὸν βασιλέα μου MPol 9:3.—The name of Christ Js 2:7.
ζ. angels δόξας β. 2 Pt 2:10; Jd 8. Angels are also meant in ὅσα οὐκ οἴδασιν β. Jd 10 and ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσιν β. defaming where they have no knowledge 2 Pt 2:12 (B-D-F §152, 1; Rob. 473). S. δόξα 4.
η. things that constitute the significant possessions of Christians τὴν ὁδὸν τ. δικαιοσύνης ApcPt 7:22; cp. 2 Pt 2:2. Here and elsewh. pass. ὁ λόγος τ. θεοῦ Tit 2:5; ὑμῶν τὸ ἀγαθόν Ro 14:16; τὸ ἐν θεῷ πλῆθος ITr 8:2a; τὸ ὄνομα ὑμῶν μεγάλως β. 1 Cl 1:1; τὸν νόμον τοῦ κυρίου Hs 8, 6, 2.—In our lit. β. is used w. the acc. of the pers. or thing (Plut.; Appian [Nägeli 44]; Vett. Val. [s. bε above]; Philo [s. bα and bβ above]; Joseph. [s. bα and bβ above]; 4 Km 19:22) or w. εἰς and acc. (Demosth. 51, 3; Philo, Mos. 2, 206; Jos., Bell. 2, 406. Specif. εἰς θεούς and the like, Pla., Rep. 2 p. 381e; Vett. Val. 44, 4; 58, 12; Philo, Fuga 84a; Jos., Ant. 8, 392; Da 3:96; Bel 8 Theod.).—S. βλασφημία end. DELG. M-M. s.v.-ος. TW.
 
βλασφημία, ας, ἡ (s. βλασφημέω; Eur., Democr., Pla.+; LXX, Philo, Joseph.; Just., A I, 26, 5; Ath. 31, 2, R.72, 27; AssMos Fgm. j p. 67 Denis; loanw. in rabb.)  speech that denigrates or defames, reviling, denigration, disrespect, slander
ⓐ gener., of any kind of speech that is defamatory or abusive, w. other vices Mk 7:22; Eph 4:31; Col 3:8. πᾶσα β. all abusive speech Hm 8:3; cp. Mt 12:31a. Pl. (Jos., Vi. 245) Mt 15:19; 1 Ti 6:4.
ⓑ specif., against humans and transcendent entities
α. humans (Cleanthes [IV–III B.C.] 1 p. 135, 21 [in Diog. L. 7, 17, 3]; Polyb. 11, 5, 8; Jos., Ant. 3, 307, Vi. 260) β. ἔκ τινος slander of (i.e. emanating from) someone Rv 2:9; cp. IEph 10:2.
β. the devil κρίσιν βλασφημίας a reviling judgment Jd 9 (but s. Field [Notes 244], who favors ‘accusation of [the devil for] blasphemy’).
γ. God and what is God’s (Comp. II 153f [Menand., Fgm. 715 Kock] ἡ εἰς τὸ θεῖον β.; Ezk 35:12; 1 Macc 2:6; 2 Macc 8:4; 10:35; 15:24; Philo, Leg. ad Gai. 368) Mt 26:65 (OLinton, NTS 7, ’61, 258–62); Mk 2:7 v.l.; 14:64; Lk 5:21 (pl.); J 10:33; Rv 13:5 (pl.); 2 Cl 13:3; D 3:6; β. πρὸς τὸν θεόν (Iambl., Vi. Pyth. 32, 216; cp. εἰς τὸν πατέρα Hippol., Ref. 9, 12, 19) Rv 13:6. βλασφημίας ἐπιφέρεσθαι τῷ ὀνόματι κυρίου 1 Cl 47:7; προσέθηκαν κατὰ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου βλασφημίαν Hs 6, 2, 3; β., ὅσα ἐὰν βλασφημήσωσιν Mk 3:28, s. βλασφημέω bβ; ἡ τοῦ πνεύματος (obj. gen.) β. Mt 12:31b, s. βλασφημέω bδ. ὀνόματα βλασφημίας (gen. of qual.) Rv 13:1; 17:3. ῥήματα βλασφημίας Ac 6:11 v.l.—The passages in β and γ generate an emotive aspect associated with denigration of a prestigious entity (cp. Origen’s rejoinder to Celsus: C. Celsum 8, 38 with reff. to Ex 22:27; Ro 12:14; 1 Cor 6:10). Hence the caution about denigrating the devil. Impious denigration of deity is esp. heinous and many translations reflect this emotive value in the loanword ‘blasphemy’. But Greco-Roman and Semitic minds would first of all, as Ac 19:37 and Rom 2:24 indicate, think in terms of disrespect shown or harm done to a deity’s reputation, a fact obscured by the rendering ‘blasphemy’, which has to some extent in Eng. gone its own emotive way semantically and has in effect become a religious technical term, which is not the case with βλασφημέω. On the range of expressions for denigration of God s. ESanders, Jewish Law fr. Jesus to the Mishnah ’90, 57–67.—DELG s.v. βλασφημέω. M-M. TW.

βλάσφημος, ον (s. two prec. entries; Demosth. et al.; Plut., Herodian; LXX; JosAs 13:9; Just.) defaming, denigrating, demeaning ῥήματα β. demeaning words Ac 6:11, 13 v.l.; cp. Rv 13:5 v.l. (Dio Chrys. 3, 53 τὶ βλάσφημον περὶ τῶν θεῶν; Herodian 7, 8, 9 βλάσφημα πολλὰ εἰπὼν εἰς τὴν Ῥώμην καὶ τὴν σύγκλητον; Philo, De Ios. 247; Jos., Vi. 158; 320). β. κρίσιν φέρειν pronounce a demeaning judgment 2 Pt 2:11. Of pers.: slanderer (Wsd 1:6; Sir 3:16; 2 Macc 9:28; 10:36) 1 Ti 1:13; 2 Ti 3:2; Hs 9, 18, 3; w. προδόται 9, 19, 3; β. εἰς τὸν κύριον 9, 19, 1.—DELG s.v. βλασφημέω. M-M. TW.

William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 178.

… ‘Screw You! I’m with god’ …

… i don’t know where you are at, but here in Richmond, VA, our temperatures went from a record high of 81°F (27ºC) on March 1st, to a low of 27°F (-3°C) last night, March 11th, and a forecast of snow on Tuesday.  to put this in perspective, all of our peach trees have already put out their flowers and are covered in green leaves.  the plum trees have bloomed as have the pear and apple trees.

… also, during the last week, wildfires consumed over 1,000,000 acres of land, killing 7 people and thousands of head of livestock.  this is on the heels of almost 60 confirmed tornadoes on February 28th.

“In addition to the tornadoes, there were roughly 686 reports of thunderstorm wind damage or high thunderstorm winds, and another 257 reports of large hail.”  Weather Channel

… this is neither normal nor good.

“What’s happening?”

… i do believe in the God of the Bible.  i believe that the promises of the Bible are true, and i know that the Bible says that the LORD is the One Who is responsible for the weather and that if His people, the people who claim His name, if they are doing right, then He will provide good weather and plentiful crops as well as other ‘good’ things, like peace and safety.

I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest, and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain. You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land. “I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear. I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land.” (Leviticus 26:4–6, NLT)

… so that tells me that the LORD says that the people who call themselves His followers are ‘not doing right’ and so i look to see what the pastors are saying.  i ran across this from a sermon delivered last week.

“The second angel is announcing to the world that Babylon has fallen.  Now, there’s a controversy as to whether Babylon is Rome, or whether Babylon is going to be revealed, I really don’t care, we’re going to be in heaven, those of you that are there can watch it from the balcony, those of you that are here can watch it on television at night, if you still are alive.  Happy trails.” John Hagee

.. or in other words, “Screw you!  I’m with god.”

.. this man boasts of a congregation of over 20,000 people in San Antonio, TX, the same state that many of these disasters have been happening in.  it is reported that he has a $2.1 million dollar 7,969 acre ranch with not one, but FIVE lodges, a managers house, a gun locker, a smoke house, a skeet range and three barns and in 2001, he received $842,000 in salary and $414,485 in benefits making him one of the best paid men on earth in ANY field.

.. in 1975 he had an affair with a younger woman in the congregation that he pastored then, and divorced the mother of his two children to marry the younger woman.  he promptly left that church to become the pastor of the church he is currently at.

.. this man says the world is going to hell, and he is going to watch it ‘from the balcony’ of heaven. “Happy trails.”

.. without touching his theology, it should be obvious that he doesn’t know the homeless Man Jesus of the Bible who taught love and compassion.  it was Jesus Who said,

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:19–21, NLT)

.. earlier in the same ‘sermon’, this man talked about the ‘Islamic hoards’ that will take over the nation that took the name of Israel.  he has advocated for a preemptive strike against Iran for this reason.  and again, Jesus said,

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke 6:27–28, NLT)

.. anyways, i believe that the Bible tells me that the reason the weather is as crazy as it is, is because of men like this who twist the words of hope and love into something completely different, where his god makes ‘the good people’ rich and will transport them to heaven while they flip the world off and watch it go through tremendous tribulation.  according to Amos, the LORD causes these things so that people who claim to know Him, will change their minds and do what He asked them to do.

… Jesus taught that the entire world, including His true followers, will all go through a ‘great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now.’ (Matt 24:21) and that AFTER that tribulation, He would come to take all those who changed their mind and decided to truly give up their lives and follow Him (Matt 24:29) to safety while the earth gets burned up.

.. as a follower of Christ, my ‘job’ is to “let my light shine before others, so that they may see my good works and give glory to my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 5:16)  even if what this man said was true (and it is way, way off base) then shouldn’t the response be to mourn for those who will be lost?  to pray for them?  to do whatever it takes to show them the love of God so that they will be saved too?

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3–4, ESV)

… every day more than 12,000 children die of starvation on this planet.  and every day hundreds of thousands of children wake up to their slavery.  in this country alone, there are over 1,000,000 school children who wake up homeless.

… and every day, there are thousands of false teachers who are only concerned with themselves – who bring shame on the name of Christ for their greedy selfish ways.  it shouldn’t be a huge surprise.  we were told it would be like this… and they must be silenced…

For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money. Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.” This is true. So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth. Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.” (Titus 1:10–16, NLT)

 

False prophets appeared in the past among the people, and in the same way false teachers will appear among you. They will bring in destructive, untrue doctrines, and will deny the Master who redeemed them, and so they will bring upon themselves sudden destruction. Even so, many will follow their immoral ways; and because of what they do, others will speak evil of the Way of truth. In their greed these false teachers will make a profit out of telling you made-up stories. For a long time now their Judge has been ready, and their Destroyer has been wide awake!” (2 Peter 2:1–3, GNB)

So what are we supposed to do?

.. the rise of a beast – Trump and the Evangelicals ..

… on Friday, September 9th presidential candidate, Mr. Donald Trump, addressed the “Values Voter Summit©” at the Omni Hotel in Washington, DC.  to go to this event, you must pay $119 to register for the event, and then there are many add-ons, like the $40 Luncheon with Tim Wilmon of AFR (American Family Radio) or $250 for the VIP Reception on Saturday night.  on their website, it says, “Values Voter Summit was created in 2006 to provide a forum to help inform and mobilize citizens across America to preserve the bedrock values of traditional marriage, religious liberty, sanctity of life and limited government that make our nation strong. It has drawn over 3,000 plus attendees from around the nation and foreign countries. Garnering national and international media attention, CNN named it “one of the conservative movement’s marquee annual events” and Sean Hannity called it “the premier conservative event now in the country.””

.. the Value Voters Summit was created by the Family Research Council which says of itself, “Family Research Council is a Christian public policy ministry in Washington D.C. defending religious liberty, the unborn & families.” in other words, it is an American Conservative Christian group and lobbying organization.  it was born out of psychologist Dr. James Dobson’s  Focus on the Family, another Conservative Christian organization that spends it’s $95M annual income on opposing abortion, gambling, LGBT rights, etc.

… it IS the religious right.

… it is also referred to as ‘the evangelicals’ …

“A lot of people said: I wonder if Donald will get the evangelicals. I got the evangelicals. I’m going to make it up to you too, you watch.” Donald Trump

…. as someone who considers himself a follower of the teachings of Jesus, called Christ, i find myself somewhat surprised at what we are witnessing.  the people with the loudest voices (and the most money) of the “American Christian Conservative’ group, the evangelicals, actually stand in support of a Trump Presidency.

“So let me say this right up front: A Trump administration, our Christian heritage will be cherished, protected, defended, like you’ve never seen before. Believe me. I believe it. And you believe it. And you know it. You know it. And that includes religious liberty – remember, remember.” Donald Trump

… and he gives them what they want.  what part of the ‘Christian heritage’ are we talking about here?  the Salem Witch Trials?

… what exactly are you going to do to ‘protect and defend’ it?

and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.” – Jesus  (John 16:2, NLT)

… these people freely twist scriptures for their own success and profit.  Dr. Dobson’s Focus on the Family, has long been a voice promoting conservative values while at the same time, slandering and demoralizing people like President Obama.

… “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’””- Apostle Paul (Acts 23:5, NLT)

… as it stands now, if you are a ‘church’ you can receive an immediate 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the US Govt which will allow you to take in huge sums of money while giving your contributors tax deductions.  you can pretty much do or say whatever you want with this status, except for the ‘limitations’ of the Johnson amendment which says,

“Organizations recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code are subject to limits or absolute prohibitions on engaging in political activities and risk loss of tax exempt status if violated. Specifically, they are prohibited from conducting political campaign activities to intervene in elections to public office.” wikipedia

… in other words, you can do anything but use your money to push your political agenda.  if you want to do that, there are other 501(c) designations that you can apply for, and each has it’s limitations of what you can do.  501(c)(4) status is what most PAC‘s have received.  also tax exempt – just not a religious institution.

“The first thing we have to do is give our churches their voice back. It’s been taken away. The Johnson amendment has blocked our pastors and ministers and others from speaking their minds from their own pulpits. If they want to talk about Christianity, if they want to preach, if they want to talk about politics, they’re unable to do so. If they want to do it, they take a tremendous risk that they lose their tax-exempt status.

All religious leaders should be able to freely express their thoughts and feelings on religious matters. And I will repeal the Johnson amendment if I am elected your president, I promise. So important.” – Donald Trump

… Mr. Trump just isn’t speaking the truth.  the Johnson amendment has NOT “blocked our pastors and ministers and others from speaking their minds from their own pulpits. If they want to talk about Christianity, if they want to preach, if they want to talk about politics, they’re unable to do so.” – not in the least bit.  it ONLY prohibits pushing politics from the pulpit.

.. for instance, the nonprofit school, Liberty University, with over $1Billion, that’s ‘B’ – billion, in assets, had Mr. Trump speak to the students during a mandatory assembly.  shortly afterwords, the Chancellor and President of Liberty University, Mr. Jerry Falwell Jr, openly endorsed Mr. Trump for President – and they still keep their nonprofit status.

.. not to mention Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse who receives a $622,252(2014) annual salary from the organization with over $280,800,000 in assets (2011), was not forbidden from his endorsement of Mr. Trump.

… this group says that they want a smaller government, but then they want to pass more laws to put more people in jail.

thingsyoucantdo

… what the Johnson amendment does, is prevents something like ISIS from developing with a tax exempt status.  the religious right wants you to go to jail for smoking pot, having gay sexual relations, ending an unwanted pregnancy, etc.

… and all the while, the words of the man they called Christ, cry out,

.. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”” (Mark 10:42–45, The Message)

full text of Mr. Trump’s speech.

… if i could rule the world …

… early the other morning i titled this blog ‘…if i could rule the world…’, and as i was putting things together in my head, i read through my twitter feed and saw this…

… to rule and reign ..

… there is massive struggle going on around the world for domination and power.  in virtually every corner of the world, someone is trying to take power and control from someone else, and  in most countries this is done by the manufactured consent of the governed.

“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too.
Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action:
you liberate a city by destroying it.
Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.” – Gore Vidal

… when one looks at the country of my birth, you have to wonder about the ‘business’ of elections.  how much money and time and effort is spent to elect people to different positions of power and authority? how many businesses exist simply for the election process?

… how many hours of labor is spent on the pursuit of power and control?

…. if the same amount of money and labor were used to make wind mills and solar panels how many election cycles would it take to covert the whole country to green energy?

Denmark Can Now Make More Wind Energy Than the Country Needs – July 10, 2015

… in June of this year we read the headlines;

Global forced displacement hits record high

UNHCR Global Trends report finds 65.3 million people, or one person in 113, were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015.  UNHCR -The UN Refugee Agency

… that equates to more than 1 in every 113 people on the entire planet, are displaced due to conflict and persecution alone.  that does not include the millions displaced from ‘natural’ disasters and other reasons.

… ‘conflict and persecution‘…  in other words ‘power struggle’ …

… and i thought,

if i could rule the world, i would end all conflict and persecution,
… after i learn to keep the weeds out of my garden …’

… if the world was a garden, and i heard that it once was, i would look at my garden and i would consider it overrun with weeds.

… i like to garden, good for the spirit, soul and mind, helps me realize what really matters in this world.  i have gardened most of my half-century life, ever since i helped my grandma in her garden when i was barely old enough to walk.  some places i have had beautiful gardens, and other places i have had beds of weeds.

… where ever i happen to plant my garden, i am always on the look out for the black walnut tree.  according to the University of Minnesota Extension, the

“Black walnut (Juglans nigra), and to a lesser extent butternut (Juglans cinerea), a closely-related species, produce a toxic substance that can be harmful to nearby plants. The trees produce the toxin juglone, which inhibits respiration in susceptible plants, causing growth to be retarded, stunted, or deformed. This can even kill some plant species.” report

Sauvie_island_black_walnut

… all i know is i ‘can’t grow spit’ near them, not to mention the dark stains on everything underneath them.  their nut is encased in it’s own ‘wrapper’ when it falls from the tree, which rots away leaving dark stains on anything they fall on. then they grow up and kill everything around them and they process the dead plants as fertilizer for themselves.

… if the world was my garden, i would eradicate the black walnut trees.

… it has been my experience, that under the black walnut trees you will find there is little sustainable life.   they poison the area where they have influence and they are always trying to expand their influence – dropping their fruit which stains and pollutes everything around where they land.

… it seems to me that the banks are the black walnut trees of the world.

“Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!” -1838 Mayer Amschel Rothschild

… under the current systems of Fiat Money and Fractional Reserve Banking, these corporations exist to suck the life out of communities.  if you can prove your worthiness (mostly by putting up some form of security) they will print you some money for whatever your heart desires.  then it is your job to actually go and work in exchange for real money, which you then have to pay them back in the form of interest and usury charges.

“The average American household has total debt of more than $90,000, which includes households that live debt free. The average household with debt owes more than $130,000.

This debt burden is costing the average household more than $6,600 in interest per year — about 9% of the average income.”
The Motley Fool, May 8, 2016

… we pay the bank that bought our mortgage over $6,000 a year in interest and fees alone, which is better than 10% of our household  income.  and i know that we are not the only ones.

… in the city i currently live in, the median family income is $47,364 in a state where the median family income is $73,514, in a country where the median family income is $62,982.  my state has 8 billionaires and scores of millionaires that keep our ‘medians’ high.  of special interest, is the fact that the median income for white males in my city is $38,886 while only $23,014 for Asians, $16,360 for African Americans, and $13,680 for Hispanics/Latinos (report).

… remember that the median is the middle, so half make more and half make less.  how do you pay for rent, let alone food, utilities, etc. on $13,680 a year, $1,140 a month, $263 a week?  our house is located in one of the three cheapest areas of the city to rent, and the average rent here is still $680 a month  in a city with an average rent of $1,147 per month.

… we live in a world where 62 people own as much as half the population of the entire earth.  they serve money and ignore the needs of everyone else on the planet.  it is to them that the world owes the interest charges, fines and fees.

… yep, if i could rule the world, i think i would remove all the black walnut trees …

.. desperate situation ..

… at 12:35 pm EST on the 13th of March, a car bomb went off in Ankara, Turkey, the Capital of Turkey, that killed 37 people and injured more than 135 people.

… at 2:58 am EST, on the 22nd of March, the first of several bombs went off in Brussels, Belgium, the unofficial ‘Capital of Europe’.  as of 8:32 pm EST last night, the death toll in this act of terrorism stands at 35 with more than 300 injured.

… on the 27th of March, on Easter Day, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a city park in Lahore, Pakistan, the Capital of Pakistan.  this blast has killed 72 (as of last count) and injured 341.  of the dead, at least 24 were children.

‘Many of the children’s rides were still operating, while there were dead bodies lying all around them’ (article)

160327123235-06-lahore-blast-exlarge-169

… the group claiming responsibility for the blast has openly said that they were targeting Christians celebrating Easter, but they have only identified 14 Christians among the dead.  it is believed that the rest of the people were Muslim.

.. if you live in America, you have probably only heard about the bombing in Brussels.  you have heard about each individual who died, their dreams and goals and the stories of those they left behind.  you hear the rhetoric of how this is ‘Islamic jihad against ‘christians” – regardless of the fact that Muslims are being slaughtered around the world at a much greater rate than ‘christians’ are.  but both are being slaughtered.

… i have family in Pakistan.  i have a dear sister who serves the slave children near Karachi, and a dear brother who serves the street children of Faisalabad.  they both have family and friends in and around Lahore, where 72 were slaughtered on Easter Day.

“For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”” (2 Corinthians 8:13–15, ESV)

… my brother in Faisalabad has started raising funds to help with the support and comfort of the 300+ bombing victims in Lahore, on top of the desperately needed funds to feed and take care of the street children.

… if you would like to share with these neglected people, you can go to our Gofundme link, or his Paypal.

streetchildren PayPalDonateNow

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
(Romans 12:21, ESV)

… blessed are those who mourn …

… as i sit down to write this, i find i have to choke down tears.  this has been a brutal week, and all i really want to do is sit and cry…

… i don’t feel very blessed.  in fact, sometimes i wonder if i am not living under a curse …

tribulation

… let me explain.  i am afraid i have offended people this week.

offend

… people that i know that Jesus loves and died for…

… some people who say that they believe it …

… and others who don’t know or care …

… my ‘christianity’ used to be simple and nice.  it was filled with $90 bottles of cologne – nice suits – jewelry – and trips around the world.

At the Taj Majal

…. i was a backup singer in the choir- one of 7 people with mics.  in a 8,000+ member church with 3 sunday services and a daily tv show.  i met and married my wife there – back when it was only 4,000+ members.

… i started our construction company there, and our ministry New Wind Ministries, Inc. where we fed 240 children a meal – 6 days a week, in the slums of Chennai, India, from the financial profits of our corporation.

gain whole world

… then something happened …

haveyouforgotten

… in 2007 our business boomed as we watched ‘the worlds’ business crumble.  ‘the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous’ after all, and as they had to close their businesses, i was given a great opportunity to purchase what they had worked hard for, for pennies on the dollar.

… can’t you see how blessed i was?

… then our business started to ‘experience difficulty’.

… i did what i was taught to do.  i cried out to the LORD to remind Him of what His word says, and how i had done what He told me to do and fed those poor kids, now He needed to do His part.

… i knew it was just a test.  i had faith in my faith, that the LORD would do what He said, and make me ‘prosperous.’

… one month i could charge $20,000 on my American Express™, and a few months later my $1,500 balance was over the limit because i had called and made arraignments to pay a $4,000 balance a week later than the due date, but before the grace period had expired.

My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11–12, NLT)

… now i was a member of a Word Faith© church, so i knew my Bible – or did i?

… well, i know this part for sure;

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, NLT)

… so i did the only thing i really had left to do – i read it for myself again, for the umpteenth time.  and again.  and again.  a different translation every 6 months for a few years.

… and three years into my test and tribulation, i felt the LORD speak to me and say,

Why don’t you make yourself another cup of coffee in your $1,500 coffee maker, and let me show you what the Word really says.

… up until that time, every verse i read i remembered another preaching that i had heard.  to one degree or another, i have been involved in american churches for 33 years.  many different denominations or non-denominational (but isn’t that really like a denomination anyways?) churches were where you would find me.

…. so, anyways, i figure i had heard thousands of hours of preaching – from non-stop tv preachers (of course we had Sky Angelto weeks and weeks of revivals and camp meetings, probably in the tens of thousands of hours, and i had probably heard a preaching on every single verse of the Bible at least once.

hewillteachyou

… so i read it again, as if for the first time…

… and my heart began to break.  first in sorrow and anguish of what i had done.  as if i was someone who was important, i bought a $1,500 coffee maker.  and i remember the faint little tug at my heart when i did it, a good 5 years or so ago, that said ‘no‘, but my bank account said

yes   you   can

… my pastor said

You deserve it!  It is what Jesus died to give you!

… and now, after they repossessed my beautiful proof of God’s approval of me and what i was doing – my beautiful truck, i got the idea that maybe the preacher was wrong.

… and, as if suddenly, the threats of everything being repossessed stopped.  the government put a $120,000 lean against our $100,000 house, and the state put us on a $200 a month for 3 year plan, instead of the garnishment of two months of 100% of our salary.

… as time has gone by, we have found ways to get money to people who are in desperate situations.  i dabble in website design, and i started doing websites to tell the world about the millions of slaves, the hundreds of thousands of orphaned street-children, the 100,000+ homeless school children.  i can register a domain and host a site pretty inexpensively, so i work for these people now.  they are my ‘clients’ and my payment is their prayers.

“Have I refused to help the poor, or crushed the hopes of widows? Have I been stingy with my food and refused to share it with orphans? No, from childhood I have cared for orphans like a father, and all my life I have cared for widows. Whenever I saw the homeless without clothes and the needy with nothing to wear, did they not praise me for providing wool clothing to keep them warm? “If I raised my hand against an orphan, knowing the judges would take my side, then let my shoulder be wrenched out of place! Let my arm be torn from its socket! That would be better than facing God’s judgment. For if the majesty of God opposes me, what hope is there?” (Job 31:16–23, NLT)

… and we work tirelessly to help these people, the ones Jesus called The Least of These.

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” (Matthew 25:37–40, NLT)

… any ways, i see what is happening in the country that i live.  all the talk is of an arrogant billionaire liar, who has pledged his vast wealth to pay for the legal fees of his adoring fans who get in trouble for beating up the people who disagree with him, potentially becoming the president of this nation, and the most powerful man in the world, with the most powerful military that has ever been known in the history of the world.

… and my heart is breaking.

… i work with the homeless and i see how bad it is getting for the poor in this country.

Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. She was proud and committed detestable sins, so I wiped her out, as you have seen.” (Ezekiel 16:49–50, NLT)

… and i know that the LORD is not pleased with the greed of this country.  the multi-million dollar homes of people who call themselves pastors and teachers of the Word of God.

Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard, they have defiled my portion, they have made my desirable portion a trackless wilderness; it is made a complete ruin: for my sake the whole land has been utterly ruined, because there is none that lays the matter to heart.” (Jeremiah 12:10–11, Brenton LXX En)

… and i seem to have offended many who seem to think the billionaire is telling the truth when he says he’s a ‘christian.’  i seem to have offended many who think that this country will be ‘great again’ if we just get rid of ‘those people.’

… in fact, i know i have offended the people who told me to leave ‘their country’ effectively labeling me ‘one of those.’

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9–11, NLT)

… i truly believe we are headed for destruction.  it’s not the first time, and i pray it won’t be the last, but i believe the Bible is pretty clear about a time of great tribulation that happens at the end of ‘life as we know it.’

For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand. (Mark 13:19–23, NKJV)

… and after those days, the ancient prophecies of Isaiah say that there will be a new heaven and a new earth and we won’t even remember this earth anymore.  i look forward to that day.

… and my heart breaks for the slave kids, the orphans, the migrants and refugees… but even more than for them, my heart breaks for the people who have plenty and won’t share…

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”” (Luke 16:13, ESV)

.. and it hurts when my pain for them is believed to be anger on my part.

“The one who listens to you, listens to me. The one who rejects you, rejects me. And rejecting me is the same as rejecting God, who sent me.”” (Luke 10:16, The Message)

… and so i accept my sorrow – the fact i seem to cry all the time now.  i know my life is mostly pleasant.  the LORD truly provides for everything we need, with plenty to share with those who are in desperate situations.

… i just see so many hurting in this country and around the world, and i do not know how people that know anything about me, would consider me a friend, and support what will surely make life much more miserable for those poor that i love, work for, and consider my true family…

 

… and a little child shall lead them …

josefmiles

And the wolf shall feed with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the young calf and bull and lion shall feed together; and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6, Brenton LXX En)

 … there was a prophet who lived during the eighth-century BC who’s prophecies spanned about 40 yrs from around 742-701 BC.  in the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, it says: “Isaiah worked to reform social and political wrongs. Even the highest members of society did not escape his censure. He berated soothsayers and denounced wealthy, influential people who ignored the responsibilities of their position. He exhorted the masses to be obedient rather than indifferent to God’s covenant. He rebuked kings for their willfulness and lack of concern.” *

… in the 15th chapter of the book of Matthew, Jesus was approached by the religious leaders of His day, the scribes and Pharisees, that would be like the preachers and pastors of today.  they came to give Jesus and His disciples a hard time for not ‘following their traditions’.  their ‘traditions’ are what’s known as the ‘oral law’ which was written down around 200 AD as the Mishna and added to around 500 AD called the Gemara – together called the Talmud.

… Jesus goes on to show them their hypocrisy and then quotes from the prophecies of Isaiah:

Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.  And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”” (Matthew 15:6–9, NKJV)

… although Isaiah goes on to say:

And the Lord has said, This people draw nigh to me with their mouth, and they honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me: but in vain do they worship me, teaching the commandments and doctrines of men. Therefore behold I will proceed to remove this people, and I will remove them: and I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will hide the understanding of the prudent.” (Isaiah 29:13–14, Brenton LXX En)

… couldn’t we say the same thing today?

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9–11, NLT)

… i watched a video earlier today about a 9 yr old girl who spends her spare time building tiny houses for homeless people.

” … and a little child shall lead them …. ” (Isaiah 11:6)

… i read a story about a girl who saved for prom, but when the night came, she decided to spend the money on things for the homeless; socks, toothbrushes, and food.

” … and a little child shall lead them …. ” (Isaiah 11:6)

Richest-Pastors-in-the-world… and then i see what the so-called ‘church’ is doing in the world.

But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13, NLT)

… and i read what Isaiah said, over 2,700 yrs ago …

O my people, your exactors strip you, and extortioners rule over you: O my people, they that pronounce you blessed lead you astray, and pervert the path of your feet. But now the Lord will stand up for judgment, and will enter into judgment with his people. The Lord himself shall enter into judgment with the elders of the people, and with their rulers: but why have ye set my vineyard on fire, and why is the spoil of the poor in your houses? Why do ye wrong my people, and shame the face of the poor?” (Isaiah 3:12–15, Brenton LXX En)

why is the spoil of the poor in your houses?  good question.

… 15,000 children starve to death every single day on this planet.

… there are 1,600,000+ homeless children in ‘the land of the free’.

… there is a multimillionaire ‘preacher’ who says that christians are being persecuted against because they are not allowed to discriminate based on their ‘religion’.

… a new poll claims that 70%+ of Americans are ‘christians’.

… Isaiah talks of a ‘new heaven and a new earth’ where only the righteous get in.  Jesus talks about what you have to do to ‘inherit the kingdom’ that Isaiah prophesied about.

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
(Matthew 25:31–46, NKJV)

… wake up.  we must stop giving to these greedy, evil people and start taking care of the poor and needy like Jesus taught us to do.

… you say that you are a ‘christian’ and your religion forces you to be prejudiced?

… my bible says your ‘religion’ is corrupt …

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (James 1:27, NLT)

* Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 1046.