What is the Church to do when “Gay Pride” comes to town?

What is the Church to do when “Gay Pride” comes to town? by Bob Vander Plaats

The following op-ed appeared in multiple Northwest Iowa newspapers just prior to the first-ever “Gay Pride” event in Northwest Iowa’s Orange City.

Donna Red Wing is the former head of One Iowa, the state’s most significant advocacy organization for those identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or those questioning their sexuality. I am the president and CEO of The FAMiLY LEADER, a prominent Christian family organization that focuses on inspiring leadership in God’s three institutions: the family, the Church, and government.

Donna and I see the world very differently. We are not natural coffee pals, much less expected to be friends. Yet we are both. It all started when Donna came to one of our annual Leadership Summits and at the lunch break asked if I’d ever entertain joining her for coffee. I said, “Yes.” That conversation began a journey where I got to know Donna and she has gotten to know me. While our views surrounding sexuality and marriage have not changed, we have developed a deep friendship. Our unlikely friendship has been headlined by the Washington Post and Des Moines Register and has been the video subject of Mutual of Omaha’s “Aha Moment” campaign.

In addition, Donna and I have been asked to present at universities, colleges, community leadership seminars, and a host of other forums featuring civil dialogue around deep disagreements. It has been an amazing journey!

I was recently asked, “What is the Church to do when ‘Gay Pride’ comes to town?” Through the lens of my relationship with Donna, I suggest the following …First and foremost, check your heart.

The book of Proverbs tells us, “Above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” If your heart is to win while others lose (in reality or figuratively), back away. In a battle to make the other side “lose,” nobody wins, and neither does the cause of Christ.

If, however, your heart is filled with love, first for God and then for your neighbors – including those in the parade adorned in rainbow colors and stickers – then engage with a heart of love. This follows Christ’s “new command” to love as He loves (John 13:34-35) in the New Testament. Jesus also reminded us the “first and greatest” commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength, and the second command, like the first, is to love your neighbor as yourself. The people celebrating gay pride in your community are the Church’s neighbors. Thus, lead with a heart of love and compassion.

Once the Church, as individuals and collectively as the Body of Christ, checks its heart with these two commands … then it is the Church’s call and responsibility to “speak truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Again, notice the consistent and clear parameters of love: It’s a constant check on the Church’s heart.

At the same time, it is neither love for God nor for others if we conceal the truth. Donna and I have had many conversations in private and in public regarding truth. It is not a feeling nor an identity; truth is God’s Word, and Christ made it clear that He came to “testify to the truth.” And speaking truth out of a heart of love is the culmination of loving God and loving your neighbor. Donna may not agree with me, but she does respect me for reaching out to her with truth in love.

Neither is it love for God and others to remain silent, to ignore our neighbors when we hold God’s Word of life and hope and healing in our hands. Pastors, college and university presidents, and other Christian leaders should enthusiastically seize the opportunity to teach God’s Word in love when “Gay Pride” comes to town.

God’s Word is timeless, and its teachings on marriage and sexuality are clear and as relevant as ever. Thus, encourage your pastor, your college presidents and chaplains, and other noted ministry leaders to open God’s Word and to boldly and courageously speak its truth to adequately prepare their congregations, their students, and their communities with a firm foundation prior to “Gay Pride” coming to your town. This is an opportunity to celebrate God’s design and desire while being a vessel to reach out with the eternal gift of the gospel.

And one more thing: Remember we all fall short of the glory of God, and we all need a Savior. Donna needs a Savior. I need a Savior. We all need a Savior.

When “Gay Pride” comes, prepare your town for a revival where we all repent of our sins and turn our hearts toward God. What an opportunity for the Church to be the Church!

National Media Stunned by Message of Truth in Love

As the nation wrestles with the hot-button issues of sexuality and marriage, deluged by name-calling and insult, Bob Vander Plaats and The FAMiLY LEADER are leading the way in forging a civil dialogue instead.

And national newspapers are starting to take notice.

For Christians, standing firm for what we believe while caring for those who don’t believe the same is our God-given duty, the convergence of Philippians 2:3 – “in humility value others above yourselves” – and Ephesians 4:15 – “speaking the truth in love.”

For the press, however, it’s nothing short of shocking.

In an article written by the Washington Post and subsequently picked up by the Houston Chronicle and other outlets nationwide, reporter Robert Samuels observed Vander Plaats and homosexual activist Donna Red Wing of One Iowa not only publicly debate their stances on the issue of marriage, but also publicly profess a genuine friendship:

Vander Plaats’s organization, The Family Leader, has derided same-sex marriages such as Red Wing’s as “unnatural.” Red Wing, leader of the LGBT rights group One Iowa, has [formerly] called Vander Plaats “bigoted” and “cruel.”
But when they ran into each other on the day the Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples could marry anywhere in the country, crossing paths between dueling interviews at a local TV station studio, they locked eyes.

And then they hugged.

The news reporter marveled: “I just saw something I never thought I’d see.”
Bob and Donna’s unusual friendship has garnered attention before, in a Des Moines Register piece, on WHO-TV, and when the two discussed the importance of creating a civil dialogue before students at Drake University.

But it was a lunch forum organized by The Wallace Centers of Iowa last month that caught nationwide attention. Samuels was on hand to witness Bob and Donna explain how they’ve managed to form a friendship – and a civil dialogue – despite being leading opponents on one of the nation’s most contentious issues:

Vander Plaats saw the event, taking place before a heavily liberal audience, as an opportunity. He believed he could win over the group with his humor and humanity and convince attendees that he was neither scary nor villainous. …
Both Vander Plaats and Red Wing appreciated the oddity of the moment, bantering like talk show hosts.
“I actually like Bob Vander Plaats,” Red Wing said.
“I love Donna,” Vander Plaats said.
“If any Christian says, ‘I can hate Donna,’ run from them,” he added. “So when Donna opened up this thing about would you like to have coffee, the only thing I felt bad about is I hadn’t extended the invitation first.”

In a culture where protest signs and sneering labels scream across the front page, The FAMiLY LEADER is working to model a different approach: A discussion of ideas that is both free and open, precisely because it is civil and others-honoring.

Samuels commented:

In Iowa, where the courts legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, Red Wing and Vander Plaats were early to adjust to this new dynamic. The two say they have formed a genuine friendship over coffee dates and phone calls that has fundamentally changed how their organizations interact.
No more calling Vander Plaats a “hater” or a “bigot,” Red Wing insisted at her group. Treat them with love, Vander Plaats said he constantly reminded his staff.

“There are times when I ask myself, before I put an idea out there, ‘How would Donna receive this?’ Because I love her,” Vander Plaats said.

Then he added: “Not that I’m changing my beliefs.”

At The FAMiLY LEADER, we believe in firmly standing on the truth of God’s Word. That’s why we also believe in speaking that truth in love. The two must work together (1 Cor. 13:1) if we’re to see a revived America that once again honors God and blesses people.

Health Update for B Mark Anderson

B Mark Anderson Health Update

B Mark Anderson Health Update

Health update for June, 2015. Praise God! My last check up at Mercy Hospital Cancer Care Center in Iowa City showed no sign of cancer. In fact, the past 3 or 4 check ups have all shown no sign of cancer.

As some of you know, I began having pains in my abdomen and numbness in my feet around Thanksgiving time in November, 2011. A few months later I was diagnosed with Stage 4 long cell lymphoma which had settled in my lungs. Stage 4 means cancer tumors had metastasized, or spread, to other organs.

Chemotherapy intervened to spare my life and give time to find a cure. Modern medicine is God’s gift to men. However, chemotherapy doesn’t cure cancer because it doesn’t deal with the cause. That’s why this dreadful disease invariably returns after treatment. In fact, the cure rate in the United States from chemo treatments is only 2.1 % according to a large published study by physicians. My own doctor gave me only a 10% chance of survival.

I didn’t like the odds! Faith-building scriptures and anointed prayers combined to give me a gradual yet miraculous healing. God did what chemo could not do.

We also prayed a bunch and began a diligent search for a plan that would keep me alive. Our son Andrew gave us a copy of Bill Henderson’s How to Cure Almost Any Cancer at Home for $5.15 a Day. Basically, we began to follow Bill Henderson’s protocol and I adhere to it every day with rare exceptions.

Our cancer physician, Dr James Feeley, a wonderful gentleman and a top oncologist who knows our alternative treatment procedures, now says, “Keep on doing what you’re doing.”

In short, chemo treatments intervened early to save my life, God’s miraculous intervention cured me from cancer, and alternative practices such as eating more vegetables and daily meditation on God’s word have helped maintain good health.

To those of you who have prayed for my healing, I say a happy “Thanks.” It’s good to be alive. I believe His plan for the rest of our days is for my wife and I to travel and minister prophetically with churches and individuals. In general, no one needs to die from cancer anymore and weI can point people in the right direction.

I’m nearly finished with the book “Hope for the Cancer Patient: 9 Natural and Spiritual Acts to Keep You Alive.” If you wish to preview the book for yourself or someone you love, contact us
May God set our hearts afire with love for Him and each other!

Warning Dream from Rick Joyner

Warning Dream from Rick Joyner

” Warning Dream from Rick Joyner

“Prepare the People for Judgment.” God gave me this mandate about two years ago. Rick Joyner’s warning dream will help us prepare. Notice however: judgment as seen in this dream is not inevitable. Prayer for our governing officials, not knowledge about our future, is the goal of this post.

Prophetic Bulletin- The Border War by Rick Joyner
MorningStar Prophetic Bulletin #88 – October 1, 2014

The recent breaches in the White House security are not only shocking, they are prophetic. It was just revealed that the man who recently jumped the White House fence did not just make it to the front door, but actually got inside the White House, and deep inside of it. He was tackled by an off-duty agent who “just happened to be passing by.”

This breach into what is considered the most important house in America is a reflection of the breakdown of security for the whole nation. Those whose most basic responsibility is the defense of our country have not done their job. They have left us vulnerable, and our enemies are now pouring through our porous borders.

In the prosecution of a crime, you look for a motive, means, and opportunity. Those with the motive to kill Americans and destroy America now have the means and opportunity because of the failure of our government to secure our borders. It does not take a genius or a prophet to know our enemies are not going to let such an opportunity pass by, and our government is leaving the front door open to them, just like the front door of the White House was left open.

We are more vulnerable to terrorist attacks now than we have ever been. We will soon pay a terrible price if this is not addressed with the greatest resolve. The most basic responsibility of the federal government is defense, and the most basic defense of a nation begins with securing its borders. Our government leaders are presently guilty of the most basic dereliction of duty or treason. It must be one or the other.

The Warning Dream

On the night of September 17, I had a prophetic dream. It was about a “gate of hell” that has been opened into the United States. “Gates of hell” are the doors that hell uses to gain access. We have one of the biggest of these open into our country right now-our Southern border.

This does not mean that everyone illegally crossing our borders is a terrorist or has evil intent. It is likely that just a small fraction want to do us harm, but this is enough to wreak havoc on the entire country and soon. In the dream, I was shown the unimaginable consequences we will suffer if our borders are not secured very soon.

The dream began with a gang that crossed our border to attack a ranch in Texas. They herded together everyone on the ranch, about twenty in all, including family and workers. There were several children. Then with diabolical cruelty, they raped and tortured them. Then they killed them all in the most cruel, diabolical way imaginable. What they did to the children was the worst of all. Then they left with great excitement and celebration to attack another ranch. This was done in broad daylight. They did not seem at all concerned that they might be caught.

Then it was as if I was high over the land. I saw waves of gangs. Some appeared to be military units, sweeping across the southwestern United States. It was like a great plague as they were pillaging, plundering, raping, and murdering. It was an invasion that threatened more Americans than any previous war in our history. I was surprised I did not see any U.S. military response to this invasion.

Even though the invaders were pouring into every Southwestern state, there was a special focus on Texas. They seemed to have a special hatred of Texas and Texans. After Texans, it seemed their rage was directed toward Hispanics. This was hard to understand since most of the invaders were Hispanics, but this is what I saw. We know that the insanity that came upon Rwanda turned Rwandans against Rwandans for even slightly perceived differences. In this kind of evil rage, reason can be very twisted. What I witnessed was a raging and insane brutality like the earth may have never faced before.

ISIS and other terrorist groups were part of this horde, but this was not an ISIS led operation. In fact, the Islamic terrorists who were involved were shocked themselves by the level of diabolical evil they witnessed in these gangs. I knew that what I was seeing was the evil spirit of modern terrorism mixed with ancient spirits of a deep and powerful witchcraft from some of the South and Central American countries. The main evil spirit that was driving this was ancient, possibly rooted in old civilizations like the Mayans. When this mixed with the evil of terrorism, it became a concoction of evil like the world has never seen.

As this onslaught unfolded in the Southwest, I then saw an outrage sweep across America. This rage was not directed at the invaders as much as it was directed at our federal government because it had failed to protect us. This outrage grew to the point of being nearly as diabolical as what I had seen in the invasion across our border. Many Americans wanted to do to our government leaders what was being done to Americans in the border states. Every foolish action or policy our federal government had in regard to border security, such as the Fast and Furious program, was being brought up again to accuse our government. The rage grew with each one recited. I then saw federal employees fleeing some states as if they were fleeing for their lives. There was a seeming universal rejection of the federal government’s authority by the states.

Then militia groups began popping up like mushrooms in a forest all across America. These were not racist or extremist militias, but rather ordinary citizens who were resolved to protect their families and neighbors. However, because of the rage in America, I felt these groups were vulnerable to being co-opted by extremist groups. Even so, in prophetic dreams and visions sometimes you just know things that you do not see. I knew that these militia groups would eventually stop the gangs that had come across our borders. This was because of the help they received from many veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who knew how to fight this type of warfare.

At this time, county sheriffs became like the glue that held America together and kept it from a meltdown into anarchy. They took a leading role in security and defense against the attacks-not just those coming across the Southwestern border, but those that seemed to be happening all over the nation.

I woke up with a most startling supernatural manifestation in my room that I still do not understand. I know it is significant, and I will share it when I am given understanding.

This Can Be Prevented — The Purpose of the Warning Dream

Many prophetic warnings are given so that we understand the schemes of the devil in order to foil them. What I saw in this dream will happen if quick, decisive action is not taken to secure our Southern border.

Days before I had this warning dream, I was told that America is in a Valley of Decision between now and the end of this year. When I asked what decisions we had to make, I did not get an immediate answer. However, when I had this dream, I knew it was the answer. If our government does not secure our borders very quickly, every American will be living in a constant danger from terrorist attacks. We will see the kind of wholesale invasion along our Southwestern border that I saw in the dream.

Prophetic timetables do not revolve around U.S. elections, but the upcoming elections are right in the middle of this time of decision that we have been given. As I have been warning since the 2000 elections, every election from then on would be more important than the previous ones for the future of our country, including mid-term elections. This has proven true. If we don’t vote, then we are voting for evil, because evil will fill every vacuum that the righteous allows. We must pray that securing our borders becomes a major issue in the elections and that those who see and understand it are elected.

There are other fateful decisions that will be made that will determine whether or not we suffer the onslaught that I saw in the dream. We will know by the end of the year if the right ones were made. If not, then we will know it is time to prepare the homeland for the war that is coming. When serious preparation begins, a spirit of mockery will be released by the enemy to thwart it and keep us vulnerable.

The Christian Response to the Warning Dream

This is the most alarming dream I have ever had. I admit to being shaken for days by it. I don’t think I had any fear for myself or my family who I have entrusted into the hands of the Lord. I have seen a lot of evil, but I have not seen anything like this. It shook me deeply. Even so, as Christians we must not walk by fear but by faith. We must wake up, but we must also resolve that we will not take action out of fear. Fear is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit. If we are led by fear, we are not led by the Holy Spirit.

When the Lord told of all the things that would come upon the world at the end of the age, He told His people to do two things: first to stand up and then look up. It is time for the righteous to stand up. The scariest thing in all of Scripture is the lake of fire. We are told in Revelation 21:8 that the first group thrown into the lake of fire will be the cowards. There is no place for cowardice in Christianity. It is time for Christians to stand up and demonstrate the faith we have in the One who is above all rule and authority and dominion. As Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10, if he still feared men, he would not be a bondservant of Christ. No true servant of the Lord can be ruled by the fear of man, but rather by the true and holy fear of the Lord.

It is time for the righteous to look up and see that the Lord is on His throne. He is not wringing His hands in worry, and neither must we. He is preparing for His kingdom to come and so must we.

We are commanded to pray for our leaders. We are not told to just pray for the ones we like or agree with, but the ones we have. We must pray for our present leaders, that they will wake up and be given wise counsel so that this gate of hell into our country is shut. That is the best of all scenarios.

By the end of this year, we will know if the invasion I saw in the dream has been avoided or not. If not, it does not mean that the attack will come right then, but we will know it is inevitable. That is when we must begin to prepare for it. We will be given wisdom to do this. Until then we should pray earnestly that it is not necessary.

When I shared this warning dream on MorningStar Television, I was surprised by how fast it went viral. I was more surprised by how many had already foreseen this type of thing coming and were already preparing for it. I was especially encouraged to learn the number of sheriffs who are not only aware of these threats to our country but are preparing for them. It is obvious that God is preparing us in many ways.

Last year I was told that this year we would start to see the Lord as our Shepherd in a greater way than we have before. As terrible as this dream was, since having it I have become aware of just how much our Shepherd is watching over us and helping us be ready for things we may be completely ignorant of. This is wonderful to see, but let us also keep in mind as Psalm 23 makes clear, knowing Him as our Shepherd requires us to come to the table, even in the presence of our enemies and while going through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Through all of this we will know, as we never have before, the Lord as our Shepherd and that He is able to keep us.

There is much more to discuss about natural, practical preparation for what is coming, but spiritual preparation is far more important. As Christians, we know that Satan cannot cast out Satan. The rage I saw coming upon Americans toward government leaders who had allowed this was diabolical too. Responding in rage is not the answer and will only multiply the access evil has in our country. Our non-Christian neighbors do not know this, and many will get caught up in this rage. Rage and revenge will try to fill America, yet Christians must stand up against this evil too.

When we begin to suffer the kinds of attacks I saw in this dream, it is understandable that the states would want to reject the federal government’s authority over them. It is understandable that citizens will want to hold government officials accountable for what has been allowed. Righteousness and justice are the foundations of the Lord’s throne, but His justice is never driven by rage.

What I saw coming upon the citizens and the states seemed to be leading to a breakup of the United States, not into just two nations but many. Our name is United States, and if we break up in this way, our major purpose will have been thwarted. This is the main scheme of the enemy in this attack. As Christians we must resolve not to let this happen. There may be a place for returning much more authority to the states and reducing the power of the federal government over the states to what was intended by the Constitution, but breaking up the country is only going to make everyone far more vulnerable. Christians will be the key factor that holds the country together or allows it to split apart.

One of the major purposes of the United States is to be light to the nations in confronting one of the ultimate evils of the human heart-racism. Racism is one of the ultimate evils because it is the result of the ultimate evils of fear and pride. We become racists because we fear those who are different from us, or we think we are better than others because of externals. We are warned, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (see James 4:6 NKJV). The grace of God is more valuable than any earthly treasure. We should therefore resist pride in every way that we can. This begins with resisting thinking we are better than others because of the color of our skin.

The United States has had terrible racial problems in our history. We still have major problems, but we have confronted them and made remarkable progress overall, even if we continue to have occasional, serious setbacks. The U.S. is a nation that is made up of all nationalities, and that has been one of our greatest strengths. We need to build on this strength.

When the Lord was asked about the signs of the end of the age, one of the first things He said was, “Nation will rise against nation” (see Matthew 24:7). The Greek word translated “nation” in these verses is “ethnos” from which we derive the English word “ethnic.” He wasn’t talking about countries fighting each other, but that one of the biggest events at the end of the age would be ethnic conflicts. Possibly more than any other nation, America is now positioned to be a standard to the world of the power of ethnic groups living in peace and harmony with one another. It is the devil’s intent to reduce America to a most deadly ethnic conflict. Christians, not the government, will determine which it will be.

It does not take a prophet to see that if what I saw in this warning dream unfolds, our Hispanic neighbors will be the most threatened. We are commanded to love our neighbors. The commandment does not specify their nationality, or even whether or not they are legal neighbors. If we love our neighbors, we will protect them from any threat, and as Christians we must resolve to do this. As Christians we must resolve now to stand up for and help any vulnerable people.

The truth is that the Hispanic people are some of the easiest people in the world to love. Of all the ethnic groups America is made up of, Hispanics would rank at or very near the top of those who have been the greatest blessing to America. As we are told in I John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear….” If we are obeying God to love our neighbors, then we will not fear them regardless of any ethnic differences. If we love them, we will help protect them.

We must resolve now to grow every day in faith, not fear. We must resolve that we will grow in love and not fear. We must resolve to grow in the peace of God, not anger. Then the joy of the Lord will be our strength.

Summary of Warning Dream

“If you do not change your course, you will end up where you are headed.” This warning dream represents where we are headed. The dream was so intense and powerful that I woke up feeling that this was imminent, but I was not given a specific timing in the dream for when this onslaught would come. The television show I did on this dream went viral, and sometimes exposing a scheme of the enemy to the light does at least cause him to pause, which can give us more time. I pray this is the case.

Even so, we do not have any time to waste. If the right decisions are not made by our government leaders by the end of this year to be decisive and resolute in defending our country by securing our borders, then we will need to start preparing for these things with decisiveness and resolve, but not in fear. The prepared prosper in all times.

Let us all make the right decision to vote in the upcoming elections. Because of ISIS, national defense has risen to the top of the issues, and it should be. We are vulnerable as a nation, just as security breaches to the White House should be a clear sign. The hedge of protection around our country is being removed by our leaders doing the things that we are warned will cause this to happen. Let us pray for our leaders to turn back to God or be replaced by those who will.

The only thing that will ultimately save our nation is another Great Awakening that turns the nation back to God. This onslaught across our Southern border did not turn America back to God, but it turned Americans against one another. If this is not stopped, then it can still be lessened by wise leadership and wise preparation.

The most important preparation of all is for every Christian to truly elevate God’s house above the White House, or any other house including our own. We must seek first His kingdom, which means that all of our major decisions should consider the purposes of God above any other purpose. His kingdom is built on a Rock that cannot be shaken. If we have built our houses on this Rock, we will not be shaken either.

Editor’s note: Joe Schrader of Faith Arrow Ministries sent me this warning dream by Rick Joyner.

Mark Anderson Health Update: the Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

The Good News

Praise God! The latest X-ray showed no tumorous cancers on my lungs. We are so thankful. For now, I have a clean bill of health. The doctor said, “Come back in two months.”

I feel good, work full days, and have plenty of energy. I can walk, ride a bicycle, drive a car, and do most of the things I need to do. Thank you for your many prayers.

The Bad News

Unfortunately, cancer returns about 97% of the time for people who have undergone chemotherapy. (I have had 14 rounds of chemo.) This statistic remains a little known fact yet is well documented by Cancertutor.com and other sources. Our challenge now is to keep cancer from returning.

Cancer has left its legacy. I still have minor pain in my abdomen and my feet are still partially paralyzed. (I use a brace on my left foot and walk like Donald Duck!) No doctor has been able to diagnose these problems, but cancer seems to be the cause.

The Beautiful

God is mighty and powerful. He takes pleasure in healing His children. Kari and I are believing Him to totally remove the pain and paralysis and to keep cancer away forever. His word documents His will for health and healing. I expect to lead a long and healthy life.

The journey continues, yet through all this I am closer to God and to Kari. She has been my greatest prayer warrior and supporter.

I have a greater desire than ever to see more people rescued from the ravages of hell which I have experienced in a minor way. For help and inspiration to see people saved for all eternity, come to ChickenEvangelism.com. Please join Kari and me in leading people to a beautiful life with Christ–our greatest adventure.

God bless each of you, and thank you again for your prayers,

Mark

 

5 Signs of God’s Judgment by Peter Waldron

Peter Waldron 5 Signs of God's Judgment

Peter Waldron 5 Signs of God’s Judgment

 

5 Signs of God’s Judgment

The Bible tells us that there are at least five progressive stages of judgment in a humanistic nation. Each stage serves as a warning to the people to return to the sanity of righteous obe­dience to God’s Word.

First, there will be an increase in natural catastrophes (Isaiah 1:5-9).

Whenever judgment befalls a nation, dramatic shifts in weather patterns, geological instability, a decline in agricultural pro­ductivity, public health crisis and hygiene, and other “natural” phe­nomena inevitably occur. Rebellious nations invite plagues, famines, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, catastrophic storms, epidemics, drought, floods, typhoons, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Righteous nations, on the other hand, rebuff such judgment. A nation reaps what it sows.

Second, water will be added to the wine (Isaiah 1:22).

Whenever judgment befalls a nation, a noticeable decline in the quality of products inevitably occurs. Rebellious nations occa­sion shoddy workmanship, sloppy craftsmanship, and slovenly construction. They are rife with unprofessionalism, slothfulness, discourtesy, sluggardly conduct, extortion, profit­eering, false advertising, shams, cons, Ponzi schemes, scams and wanton waste. Hu­manistic nations are thus constantly forced to deal with such things as trade deficits, declining industry, plummeting market shares, massive recalls, import quotas, and massive unemployment. Righteous nations, on the other hand, rebuff such judgment. A nation reaps what it sows.

Third, the silver becomes dross (Isaiah 1:22).

Whenever judgment befalls a nation, chronic financial crises inevitably oc­cur. Rebellious nations engage in currency devaluation, infla­tion, deficit spending, and fiat leveraging. Humanistic nations are thus constantly forced to deal with accelerating bankruptcy rates, runaway cost of living increases, unstable exchange ratios, debased currencies, wage and price controls, exorbitant taxa­tion, and money that is not worth the paper it is printed on. Righteous nations, on the other hand, rebuff such judgment. A nation reaps what it sows.

Fourth, there is an exchange in leadership (Isaiah 3:1-5).

Whenever judgment befalls a nation good leaders give way to bad leaders who give way to even worse leaders. Rebellious nations are an easy target for conspiracy, collusion, corruption, covetous­ness, and contamination. They seem to breed demagogic, xeno­phobic, and messianic opportunists who rise to power and prominence. Humanistic nations are thus constantly forced to deal with government scandals, cover-ups, bribes, evasions, in­vestigations, revelations, and resignations. Righteous nations, on the other hand, rebuff such judgment. A nation reaps what it sows.

Fifth, the people are taken captive (Isaiah 5:13-15).

When judgment befalls a nation, and it fails to repent during the course of the first four warning stages, it will finally be dragged off into exile. Rebellious nations are weak and gullible in the face of in­toxicating philosophies, exotic delicacies, and titillating ideolo­gies. They are lured away from their citadels of strength by the beguiling angels of alien light. Humanistic nations are thus con­stantly forced to deal with the corrosive incursions of anarchism, totalitarianism, socialism, antinomianism, existentialism, nihilism, and hedonism. Righteous nations, on the other hand, rebuff such judgment. A nation reaps what it sows.

It doesn’t take an expert in sociology, theology, eschatology, or futurology to see that our nation is now undergoing very real and substantial judgment. All five stages of Biblical judgment are everywhere apparent. Bow down before God, ask Him to forgive you and repent from any sinful behavior. He said (2 Chronicles 7:14) that when we do this that “He will heal our land.”

You are loved.

His servant, your friend, Peter

(This article  “5 Signs of God’s Judgment” is not used by permission. I have contacted the author and have not yet received a reply.) You can contact Peter here.

The God of Jacob Mystifies

 

God of Jacob and Jacob Wrestle

God of Jacob and Jacob Wrestle

 

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold (Psalm 46:10).

I am intrigued by the God of Jacob. Just Who is this God of Jacob? How is He different from the God of Moses or the God of David? Of course, He is the same One True God, but there must be some variation.  The mystery of the God of Jacob fascinates me.

God Loved Jacob

To unravel the mystery of the God of Jacob, let’s focus first on the fact that God loved Jacob (Psalm 47:4; Mal 1:2; Rom 9:13). Repeated three times in Scripture, we find an emphatic statement: God really loved Jacob!

But Jacob was a rat! His name means “heel-grabber,” “trickster,” or “supplanter.” He stole, yes stole his brother’s birthright and gained the coveted blessing of the first-born by fraud, lying, and deceit. He was not a nice fellow to be around.

Still, God loved Jacob! That’s the alluring part of the mystery. This always give me hope. If God can love a guy like Jacob, He can love you and me!

God Showed Jacob Favor

Further, God’s love for Jacob was no hidden love affair. God showed special favor on this cheater time after time and in remarkable ways.

The God of Jacob chose the little fellow in the womb to be stronger than his brother and to be lord and leader of his brother. This title shows God as the God of Sovereign Election. God elected Jacob and He has elected to bless us as well. His sovereign choice is to bless His people.

The God of Jacob did not discipline Jacob when we think He should have. Jacob tricked his father, stole his brother’s birthright, and got away with it. Then God blessed him! It doesn’t seem right. How could this be? What does this show about the God of Jacob?

(Hint: God’s choice not to discipline Jacob at this time shows His nature. He is both patient and resolute. Seven years would pass before God would feed Jacob some of his own medicine. Through a phony marriage, the Lord chose to severely discipline and train Jacob the deceiver through an even greater deceiver, his father-in-law, Laban.

God appeared to the fugitive runaway as he fled Esau’s threats. God promised inheritance, blessings on the world (!), prosperity, and protection. He conferred the blessing of Abraham on this scoundrel. Wow! When we mess up, “The God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:10). Count on it! We too are in the covenant line of Abraham.

The God of Jacob gave him Rachel, a wife he genuinely loved.

He blessed him with many children.

The God of Jacob greatly increased his sheep business and made him exceedingly prosperous (Gen 30:43).

The God of Jacob directed him with personal dreams. Can we expect Him to do the same for us?

God protected him by giving Jacob’s adversary a dream. In the dream God  told his adversary to “shut up” about Jacob and “Don’t tell him anything bad” (Gen 31:24).

The God of Jacob wrestled with him, but chose not to prevail!

The God of Jacob let him see His face without taking his life (Gen 32:30).

God graciously changed Jacob’s name and nature from a taker to a giver.

The God of Jacob gave him favor with his former enemy Esau.

God went with him wherever he went (Gen 35:3).

The list could continue as God gave Jacob a long and blessed life preserving him from famine and allowing him to see his grandchildren.

The Significance of the God of Jacob for us

What the God of Jacob did for this man He will do also for us. We too, as people of faith, are in the covenant of Abraham. We can expect the God of Jacob to bless us even when we blow it! What he did for Jacob, He will do for us. Who He was to Jacob, He is for us!

At the end of his life, perhaps just hours before he died, Jacob  coined the phrase “the Mighty One of Jacob” under the inspiration of the Spirit. The  Bible emphasizes this title by using it about fourteen times. God had appeared to him as El-Shaddai (the Mighty One). Now Jacob claims the name for himself. How personal, how significant!

We can do the same. I’ve been thinking about the God of Jacob and how He favored this man. I am claiming the use of this title for myself.  I am beginning to call the God of Jacob “the Mighty One of . . . Mark!

Can you put in your own name? The God of Jacob has become “the Mighty One of _______________!

Symptoms of True Love (Part 5)

Symptoms of true love

Symptoms of true love

 

Symptoms of True Love.

This post is about one of the symptoms of true love toward God, not romantic relationship. It’s about giving up everything to Christ.

There’s a famous cartoon of Garfield the Cat hanging with his two front paws on a clothesline wire. The caption reads, “When all else fails, hang in there!

Symptoms of true love is the final part of a series, “5 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned as a Cancer Patient.” You can access the introduction here. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 here.  Find Part 4 here.

This Garfield cartoon fits a man with cancer. We never know the future. All of life and the precious things we’ve worked so hard for could be pulled away from us in an instant or a few weeks. There’s nothing we can do about it. We begin to understand more fully what’s important in life and what isn’t. Money, time, even friends and family are fleeting.

All we can do is hang onto God with our two front paws. When all else dissolves, God is still there.

For me, I have to give up everything and lay back on the chest of Christ. Family hopes fade. Ministry dreams evaporate. But love remains—His love to me and mine toward Him. I have ministry goals: I want to see people saved and healed. I want to see lives changed and His kingdom come. I want to see the church built up and become more influential in the community.

But I have cancer. I have to give it all up. All I want is to love God. I will let Him determine my ministry. I have no other choice. Nor do I want anything else. I am His and He is mine. This attitude is one of he symptoms of true love. And that’s the way it should be from the beginning.

“Not My Will, But Thine Be Done.”

Tony Reinke over at the Desiring God website has a quote from Tim Keller that helps define and identify one of the symptoms of true love. “Suffering is actually at the heart of the Christian story.”

Am I willing to give it all up to Jesus?

Are you willing to suffer for Jesus sake? Am I?

 

Why Teach Kids Memory Verses (Part 4)

What’s so Important about Kids Memory Verses?

Kids memory verses–those I learned as a child–helped me go through the torment of chemotherapy. Here’s what I found.

This is part 4 of a series, “5 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned as a Cancer Patient.” Read the introduction here.

Part 1, “Who are the Majestic Ones?” is found here. Part 2, “What to say to a Sick Man?” is practical and something everyone needs to know. Part 3, “Love Doesn’t Let Anyone Go to Hell” will grip anyone with a heart.

It’s rough to have cancer. It’s rough to go through Chemo-therapy treatments. Chemo changes a human body and mind. Digestion, sleep patterns, energy levels, almost everything changes as those chemicals take up bodily residence. I have spent plenty of sleepless nighttime hours.  What’s a person to do hour after hour of drug induced sleeplessness?

The best idea is to meditate on Scripture. That’s where kids memory verses like Psalm 23 saved the day. (Or should I say, saved the night?) I don’t want to turn on the lights and get totally awake by reading something. Meditation on Psalms or other Bible verses can relax and induce sleep. But how can a person meditate on verses he’s never committed to memory? No way; the Scripture has to be learned in advance of the crisis.

My Great Discovery

The Psalms and other verses I’d learned as a child returned; the verses or chapters I’d memorized as an adult slipped so easily away. I was surprised about this. Normally, we’d think what we learned most recently would be most retained. In fact, the opposite was true. I knew it was easier to memorize as a child, but I was unprepared in my hours of need to recall the verses I’d memorized as an adult. John 3:16, Psalm 46 and other verses came back but only because I’d committed them to memory in my childhood.

What’s the “take home”?

Parents, do yourself and your children a favor by teaching kids memory verses now before their minds get cluttered with the affairs of life. Sunday School teachers and Children’s Church workers, do the same. Teach the children whose parents never come to church verses about God’s love and salvation through Christ. You never know—some of those verses may return in hours of suffering or crises during adult years.

I’m saying it again.  I learned this as a cancer patient. These simple kids memory verses carried me through the nights of chemo-induced torment. You will never regret teaching Bible memory verses, nor will they!

 

Love Doesn’t Let Anyone Go to Hell (Part 3)

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I experienced hell. No place on earth is like it. If we care about anyone, we will do our best to rescue them from the ravages of the devil and his place of torment.

This is part 3 of a series “5 Life-Changing Lessons I learned as a Cancer Patient.” Read the introduction “You’ve Got Cancer!” 

Read part 2 here.    

Part 3 “What to Say to a Sick Man?” is practical and located here.

 

Following my first chemotherapy treatment I was reduced to what seemed like a near vegetable state. I was weak physically, and weaker still in my mind. In a drug induced stupor I was susceptible to demonic attack. As I tried to sleep that first night I felt all hell was turned upside down and poured out on me.  Hideous, evil thoughts I’d never seen or imagined camped in my mind.

I do deliverance ministry. I know how to combat the devil. But this was different. When I called for the blood of Jesus, the devil himself seemed to appear.  I couldn’t get free no matter what I tried. What I experienced was the horrendous hatred of the devil toward me and every human being. No words can adequately describe the devil and his hatred. No words can fully prepare a person for the torments of hell.

The next night I came armed with the prayers of my oldest son and the elders of the church. Through their prayers I was greatly protected.

I see now more clearly than ever the need to rescue people from the devil’s deception and bring them into heaven. If we care at all about friends, relatives, co-workers we will tell them about Jesus. No feeling should stop us from giving the good news about salvation from hell to people we care about. I say again, if we love someone, let’s spare nothing in order to tell them about Jesus and lead them to salvation. (See some posts on this site for simple, empowering ways to lead someone to Christ—it’s serious business, but also a lot of fun!)

Hell is neither picnic nor place to go and be with friends. Learn about Chicken Evangelism—bring up Christ before you chicken out. If we love ‘em, tell ‘em ‘bout Jesus now!