The journey of a nerd who loves the Lord

Under Attack

My study of theology started back in the eighties. I recall reading numerous materials that predicated the ‘end of times.’ They described how the church would come under attack by the government which would also force individuals to take the ‘mark of the beast.’ I have never claimed proficiency in the matter of interpreting Biblical prophecy. However, I have studied plenty of history, and one pattern I identified early on stands out in my mind today. When any government goes to grab more power from the people, it attacks the church.

Yet, here we are. In the year 2020, our American government is doing everything possible to tear down our churches in the name of ‘safety.’ Our cry, as Americans, changed from “Give me liberty or give me death” to “Give me safety from virus even if it cost me my liberty.” As part of this new, social contract, many states have focused closure orders and incredibly challenging orders on church organizations. As just a small example, I have included a clip here as John MacArthur reads what the state of California expects from churches there.

As he points out, following those guidelines would effectively kill their organization. And, indeed, many other similar church have already closed their doors permanently.

Now, followers of my blog know that I have never carried the banner of support for institutional churches. Modern churches fall well short of the ideals set in the New Testament. At the same time, most claim to have the ‘best model’ of church either implicitly or explicitly. I have many concerns about the model of church western society used for the last two millennium.

Yet, even I cannot ignore these blatant attacks by our government to shut them down. And, while governments such as China or North Korea make any such gatherings illegal, our government has taken a more sinister approach by enforcing closures and strict requirements over an obscene period of time in the name of ‘safety.’

Some would point out that the government applies such pressure to all organizations equally in its quest to ‘squish’ the virus, but that idea falls shorts when one reviews the facts. In the states with the tightest regulations for churches, organizations such as liquor stores, abortion clinics and home goods stores work with much easier requirements (if any). The governments serve court summons to any church that dares to defy their ‘health orders’ while allowing groups to organize and protest in large numbers in any manner they see fit.

To see my country blatantly grab and stubbornly hold onto the constitutionally protected rights of its citizens breaks my heart. This kind of action, performed in the name of ‘safety,’ is nothing new. Again, study history of other nations, and how they took freedoms from their people and other egregious actions (including murder and genocide.) Those leaders always had a great ‘reason’ for their actions to pacify the people of the time.

One of the books I read back in the 80’s foresaw this possibility, and reviewed a ‘back to the Bible’ secret as an answer to this challenge. When persecuted, Christians in the darker ages met in homes. In fact, the Christian churches in China and North Korea have seen unprecedented growth over the last few decades even as they quietly meet in each other’s houses. Governments find it much harder to hunt down followers when they do not have a huge building-shaped target with a cross at the top.

Sadly, most Christians will not consider such radical approaches. They have somehow bought into the lie that they must remain apart from their siblings in faith to ‘stay safe.’ (Compare this approach with the disciples’ in the Bible. Did they put safety over spiritual/church meetings and following Christ?) They ‘attend’ church once each week by watching a broadcast and move on with the rest of their life. And, in that regard, Satan wins a decisive victory.

While this may seem dark and depressing to most, I end this entry with a silver lining. While we bemoan the dark times where government represses churches, we should take note of another fact. When the church is persecuted, God acts. In our weakness, He is made strong. We have seen the most explosive growth and the biggest miracles when facing our darkest times. The blood of the martyrs fertilized the ground for generations of faithful followers to grow.

This is your time.

Let’s Press Forward

Salutations.

I wrote my last blog entry months ago.  The ‘new normal,’ continues to change life for many people, myself included. The current conditions forced my company to lay off the vast majority of our workforce.  While those of us left certainly feel blessed to have a job, we also find ourselves trying to  carry the workload and responsibility once carried on by a full team.

Like most, I have also watched more than my normal share of news.  The government’s handling of the pandemic, the riots burning entire cities, the masses crying out for justice and natural disasters (I type this as my city experiences a blackout caused by 90 MPH winds) dominate the headlines. As the saying goes, if it were not for bad news, we would have no news at all.

It seems to me that we have entered a new, dark age. Free thought, comedy, satire and various forms of entertainment have been effectively silenced. After all, what kind of heartless soul laughs when thousands are dying in a pandemic? The person performing satire invites angry retort by those with differing points of view. Even sports, a popular form of diversion, has been seriously curtailed.  Where allowed, one cannot find true escape as leaders there feel forced to acknowledge challenges in society and politics before the games even start!

Clearly, higher powers want to ensure that we do not experience joy and happiness in these trying times. I have always known the media to drive a fear-based narrative. Years ago, I asked my wife to stop listening to the news because their constant fear-mongering caused ongoing stress in our lives. I feel that they do so because fear drives people to watch/listen/read more news, which, in turn, pays their bills. Also, politics seems to motivate many of the networks, as they push a narrative that only their candidate can fix the problems that plague us.

So, where does this leave us? As a country, we clearly have more struggles than ever before. Yet, for the Christian, these events must act as constant reminders that we are not home yet.  We are strangers in a strange land. When the news and media demands we pay attention and listen to them, we should get on our knees and listen to Him. When they internet and social media screams that we must read what it says, we should open our Bibles and read what Jesus says. 

We must remember that God warned us of events like this. And we asked us to not fear those who can destroy the body, but the spirit. Therefore, we have nothing to fear from COVID, the government, or even social media. We serve a God who reigns over the entire universe and lives from eternity to eternity. We serve the King to which all other kings will bow. We praise the LORD that every tongue will confess. Every knee will bow to Him! What should we fear when we serve the one who conquered death itself? 

It is time that Christians stop living in fear, and step out boldly for their God. Eleven of the twelve died standing up for their Lord in a cancel-culture that rivaled our own. In those times, if you preached the gospel that others did not like, you died in a most horrible way. They did. Yet, they did so with joy in their hearts for they knew who they served. They understood what treasure waited for them in the afterlife. They did not fear death, but looked forward to hearing the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”  

Let us hold these truths in our heart, and push forward towards the prize God has called us for. 

Philippians 3:14, NIV: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

An audio recording of this blog is available here.

I tweeted the following this morning. About 1,000 shot each year by police in USA, 20-40% black (Source) . Over 10,000 killed by impaired drivers (Source). Over 850,000 abortions in 2019 (Google). When will the world see that we need Jesus? Recent events bring up a few different thoughts that I would like to share with those who care to read or listen.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias recently passed away, to be with His Savior whom he loved so much. I wanted to take a few moments out of my very busy and hectic life to share my thoughts on this man of faith, and his impact on my life.

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The Problem With Polls

Listen to this article here:

Salutations.

Up until mid-March, I spent little time actually watching news. About fifteen years ago, I gave up cable television in favor of focusing on other forms of entertainment and leisure. Enter the pandemic. Because this event impacts me directly, I have kept a close eye on developments via local and national news. For the last month or so, the news media has delivered non-stop coverage on the COVID crisis. They provide up-to-date infection totals and death rates as well as personal stories of tragedy and good deeds.

Read the rest of this entry »

On-Line Church?

Salutations.

Due to recent events, many states have asked churches to shut down all traditional gatherings and services done in buildings, to slow down the spread of infection. The vast majority have complied, moving to on-line services.  Read the rest of this entry »

LDS Handbook Pt 1

1 John 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Brevity of Life

Salutations.

Recently, a famous basketball player passed away in a tragic flying accident. People everywhere mourn his death in different ways. Jeff Zillgitt at USAToday.com wrote,

A few quotes from last week keep coming back to me, all connected in some way to the fleeting existence of life, the importance of living in the moment and figuring out what matters.

I can certainly agree with his points.  Better yet, the Bible does, as well.


Psalm 39:4 ESV says, “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!

James 4:14 ESV states, “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”

The psalmist writes in Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

BibleAs Jeff notes, life goes by quickly, like a candle that burns down in the night. Not only does it burn within a matter of a few, short hours, a single breeze can snuff it out well before its intended time. We must therefore choose today who we will serve and ‘live in the moment’ for we may not see tomorrow.

Joshua 24:15 ESV
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Matthew 6:24 ESV
“No one 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.

And after we die, we are judged.

Hebrews 9:27 ESV
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Romans 3:23 ESV
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Thankfully, for those who choose to follow Jesus, eternal life awaits.

John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 10:9 ESV
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Let us take a moment or three to remember these important truths as we reflect on the brevity of life. God gives us these reminders so we have opportunities to turn towards Him before we die and face judgement. Choose this day who you will serve.

 

 

Think On These Things

 

Salutations!

One of the awesome things about Christianity is that we do not have a long list of do’s and don’ts that we must follow. God saves us from our sin through faith in Jesus alone. Nothing we do adds or takes away from that. Furthermore, God, though His Spirit, gives us a new heart that desires to worship and walk in His ways. We change our actions and behavior because of love for Him. Instead of enforcing holiness externally, via exhausting rules, the Bible teaches that we become Holy through the work Jesus does in our hearts. Read the rest of this entry »

Company Ethics

 

Salutations.

Recently, thousands of gamers raged when a gaming company, Activision-Blizzard, took steps against a gamer. During a live broadcast of a Blizzard event, the gamer shared his support of the Hong Kong movement. Gamers felt betrayed because the company they loved seemingly pandered to China by heavily punishing the offending gamer.  This gaming company has a growing interest in China, and clearly hopes to grow its sales in one of the largest markets of the world. These gamers hope to force change in the company through protest and refusing to buy future products from the company. This brings up a few logical disconnects that I hope to address with this blog entry. Read the rest of this entry »