#CharlestonStrong

Emanuel AME2

A week ago, on the evening of June 17, Dylann Roof walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church — one of the oldest AME churches in the nation — with the alleged intention of starting a race war. Hiding a gun in his backpack, he sat and talked with parishioners during their mid-week Bible study. Approximately an hour into the study, Roof pulled out his gun, and began firing. When he left the building, 8 people were dead, with one critically injured who later died at the hospital.

Within hours of the shooting, reports began to fill the airways and internet of the tragic events at “Mother Emanuel“. With 9 people dead and the subject at large, tensions were high as people already began to assume that the shooting was racially motivated. The next day, Dylann Roof was apprehended in Shelby, North Carolina — some 245 miles away. He was returned to Charleston where he was promptly charged with the murders. As news crews and TV personalities descended upon Charleston, and images of Ferguson and Baltimore still vivid in the minds of people across the nation, many on the outside of the situation wondered if this tragedy would spark yet more civil and racial unrest.

The answer came on June 19 when, in his bond hearing, Roof was addressed by the people he had deeply wounded — the people of Emanuel AME and the families of the victims. They spoke of the hurt and pain he had caused in their lives — of the wounds born of his act of hatred. Yet, in spite of the pain in their hearts and voices, they had an overwhelming message for Dylann Roof…

“We forgive you.”

In the following days, as reporters broadcast from outside of the church, what they experienced was a wounded community coming together to worship and heal.

As the “usual suspects” of racial division and disunity began to sing their familiar song of prejudice and fear, citizens of the Charleston area joined hands and hearts across racial divides and came together over the next few days in churches throughout Charleston, including the following Sunday at Emanuel AME, where Reverend Norvel Goff had a message for the world…

“A lot of folk expected us to do something strange, and break out in a riot.
Well, they just don’t know us.
They just don’t know us because we are a people of faith. And we believe that when we put our voices and heads together, working for a common good, there is NOTHING we can not accomplish together in the name of Jesus!”

As politicians and activists began attempting to re-invigorate the “anti-gun” message, the message coming from inside the walls of Emanuel AME Church was one of love, forgiveness, and faith. It was also a message of warfare against the REAL enemy…

“… For those of us that are here this morning, I want you to know that  because the doors of ‘Mother Emanuel’ are open on THIS Sunday, it sends a message to every demon in hell and on earth that no weapon formed against us shall prosper… Some wanted to divide the race — black and white and brown — but no weapon formed against us shall prosper!” ~ Rev. Norvel Goff

There will always be people of every color in America. Because of our differences, and because we live in a fallen world, there will always be INDIVIDUALS — like Dylann Roof — who have a heart filled with racial hatred. However, I do not believe that America is a racist country. In a country with a population of over 300 million, you cannot ascribe to an entire population or people-group the actions or attitudes of an individual or minority. This is not the America of the 1960’s. It is time that all of us — red, yellow, black, and white — take a stand against the voices of fear and division that would try to use these types of tragic events for nefarious and self-serving purposes. It is time for we, as a united people, to stand up and say with one voice…

“No more!”

It is time that we, the church, follow the example of Jesus in heated and uncomfortable deed, and not just in air-conditioned and comfortable word. For the people of Emanuel AME to stand there, two days after such a tragic event, look into the face of the twisted, hate-filled heart that took away the lives of their beloved family members and friends, and say, “We forgive you” — It put the love of Jesus in full color, front-row view for the entire world to see. While those with no understanding of such love asked the question, “Why did God allow this to happen?”, Alana Simmons, the granddaughter of slain Pastor Daniel Simmons, summed it up in an incredible way on Fox New’s Hannity program…

“God allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves.”

What we have witnessed in the people of Emanuel AME is the example of Jesus…

  • In the shadow of His inevitable death, He shared a message that said…

“… Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and PERSECUTE you.” ~ Matthew 5:44

  • In the agony of His own undeserved death, He reached out to a thief dying next to Him and assured him…

“… Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” ~ Luke 23:43

  • As He hung between Heaven and Earth, Jesus pleaded for forgiveness for the very people who had put Him on the cross…

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” ~Luke 23:34

It is an example that the worldly mind will never understand.

Forgiveness silences the critics.

Forgiveness takes the ammunition away from the agitator.

Forgiveness leaves the voices of hatred and assumed offense in stunned silence.

In the aftermath of the events in Ferguson and Baltimore, protesters and politicians were front and center in the media for weeks. In the case of the acquitted officer in Ferguson, although he was proven to be innocent, the false narrative of the tragic event was still being advanced by people with no regard for the truth.

But in Charleston, forgiveness took the teeth out of the story.

Anger never got the front page.

The root of bitterness never found fertile soil to grow.

The forces of hatred and racism never got enough traction to have to be reckoned with.

At the end of the day, Jesus showed up in the hearts, faces, voices, and actions of a group of hurting people who understood love and forgiveness are stronger than hate.

And to those who are trying to keep the story alive by focusing on some of the fringe issues like the Confederate flag or more gun control — please — let’s keep the story where it belongs, for now…

On the lives of the “Emanuel 9″.

If we do that, we might find the message of healing and forgiveness so absent in our culture today.

The message of what it means — REALLY means — to love like Jesus.

For THAT is the message a hurting world needs to hear.

It’s Summer!

Collide2015-1

Yesterday was the official first day of summer, and I hope that everyone is already making the most of it. The weather is already telling the tale of what promises to be a fun season of days at the beach, vacations with the kids, or just hanging around the house looking for stuff to do.

Well, if you are looking for some ways to occupy your summer, might I give you a couple of suggestions…

COLLIDE is coming!

In just another two weeks, Collide is coming to Abba’s House. This year’s youth conference will feature my friends Damon Thompson, Jason Crabb, Kevin Wallace, Chris Brooks, Ronnie Phillips, and more. Heartcry will be leading us in worship, and we are expecting great things for the generation that is rising. Come be a part…

THE BIG EVENT is gearing up for war!

This year at the Big Event, I will be joined by my good friend Perry Stone to take the battle to the enemy. This year’s BIG EVENT will focus on Spiritual Warfare. It’s time to take back what the enemy has stolen from our families, our churches, and our nation. Come be a part…

Stone-Phillips

Peanuts, Paranoia, and Conquering Your Fear

In the 1965 Charles Schultz classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, there is a very famous exchange between Charlie Brown and his street-corner counselor, Lucy Van Pelt…

Lucy: Are you afraid of responsibility? If you are, then you have hypengyophobia.

Charlie Brown: I don’t think that’s quite it.

Lucy: How about cats? If you’re afraid of cats, you have ailurophasia.

Charlie Brown: Well, sort of, but I’m not sure…

Lucy: Are you afraid of staircases? If you are, then you have climacaphobia. Maybe you have thalassophobia. This is fear of the ocean, or gephyrobia, which is the fear of crossing bridges. Or maybe you have pantophobia. Do you think you have pantophobia?

Charlie Brown: What’s pantophobia?

Lucy: The fear of everything.

Charlie Brown: THAT’S IT!!!!!

Fear is a magnet to demons. Fear will draw in the enemy, and will bring to pass the thing you have spoken out of your mouth. You need to understand that fear is not only an emotion, it is a spirit. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.”

Friend, it’s time to recognize your fears.

What fears flood and bring failure to your life?  It is time to take a close look at your mind and see what fears may exist there.

Fearing Life

Every day I meet people who are afraid to live life to its fullest. This fear is one of the first to ever show its face in this world. Right after Adam and Eve fell into sin, God showed up to speak to them.  In Genesis 3:10 Adam admitted to God, “I heard Your voice in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.” He couldn’t even go through his normal routines there in the garden!

Perhaps you’re afraid that people will find out who you really are and then shun you.  You are afraid that some of the things that you’ve done that are between you and God may come out. You live in fear of the truth. However, if there is any place in the world that you ought to be able to live a transparent life, it ought to be in the church. You ought to be able to surface your difficulties and your failures and have them dealt with in safety there.

The impact of fear reaches beyond spiritual issues; it can also affect your job. Perhaps you are afraid to take the next step for advancement. Maybe you fear going into management because you’re afraid the responsibility will be bigger than anything you’ve ever known. The comfort zone is preferred over progress. Someone reading here may have birthed a wonderful idea but you won’t take a risk because you so deeply fear failure.

History tells us that Abraham Lincoln lost every election he ran in except for when he ran for president. What if he had quit? We would not have had one of our greatest presidents. There are those who are paralyzed by the fear of getting up in the morning and just going about the chores of life. I want to challenge you to break this spirit and believe that you can be everything God has created you to be and more.

Fearing Death

Hebrews 2:14-15 says that “Jesus was manifested that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject unto bondage.” Many people sustain a powerful fear of dying. I believe that’s why about 65% of our hospital dollars are going to give people tests for diseases they don’t have. Many people wake up nightly short of breath, and they actually are suffering from night terrors, a demonic attack on basic health.

If you are saved, why should you be afraid of dying? Philippians 1:21 should be the Christian’s boast, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Heaven is not a thing to be feared. I’ve heard people say, “You know, I want to go to heaven, but I’m not ready if there is a trip going out tonight.”  Well, I’m ready to go today. I would miss my family, and they would miss me terribly. But after Jesus died on the cross and then arose from the tomb, He lit up the corridors of death forever. I don’t have to be afraid. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me,” said David in Psalm 23. Even in death, we are not alone.

Fearing the Enemy

Psalm 31:13-15 should be the proper response when you are facing the enemy, “I hear the slander of many. Fear is on every side, while they take counsel together against me and scheme to take away my life, but as for me, I trust in you, O Lord. I say you are my God. My times are in your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.”

I don’t have to be afraid of the devil or his emissaries that wear skin here on the earth. Jesus spoiled principalities and powers.  He ripped the astro-deities from their thrones and exposed the enemy. I don’t have to be afraid of a tarot card, or a horoscope. I don’t need to call a psychic to find out what is going to happen tomorrow. I boast with the psalmist David in Psalm 31, “My times are in His hands.”

Fearing Man

This fear is a powerful one for many. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”  Is there somebody in your life that when you see them fear rises up in your spirit? Is there something in you that has you agreeing with people when you know they are wrong, simply because you are afraid of what they will think of you? Have you ever gone along with people and done things you know you shouldn’t do just because of fear that they might think badly of you?

This fear of man is something that really grips our young people today. Peer pressure, a fear of what friends think, can take over their lives. The fear of being different, the fear of what other people think—these can be so strong.  I’m not telling you that you ought to be obnoxious, but the honest truth is that it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks but God. Young people and adults alike need to quit allowing the fear of man to hinder what God wants to do in their lives.

Fearing Insignificance

People are afraid that their lives won’t count for anything. I think of Genesis 15 and the story of Abraham. Here’s old Abram, he has left fame and fortune in Ur of the Chaldees, left his beautiful home and is living in a tent. Out here, nobody knows who he is. In Genesis 15:1 it says, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying, ‘Do not be afraid.  I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward.’”

You said, “Well, I didn’t win ‘Employee of the Month’ even though I deserved it.” But God saw it, and He took account of your stewardship. You say, “Nobody has ever given me a plaque. Nobody appreciates what I do.”  I want to tell you, your great reward is God.

I remind you of the story of the woman who broke the alabaster box and wept over Jesus’ feet. Nobody really knows what her name is; some scholars believe it was Mary. What we do know for sure: Jesus appreciated what she did. We also don’t know the widow’s name that stepped up to the temple offering box and threw in the “widow’s mite”, all of her living, but Jesus knows her name, and she is significant and important to Him.

One day you are going to get to heaven and you are going to find out everything you sowed into this life is still over there. You sowed it into His work. Embrace the understanding that Jesus Christ is the one who can make your life last forever.

Fearing the Future

“I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace
and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

You don’t have to be afraid of what is going to happen tomorrow. Once you know the Lord Jesus Christ, the fear of the future can leave.

When my son, Ronnie, Jr. was a little boy, he loved to go with me on errands. Even when he was four or five years old, he would eagerly jump into the passenger seat even if it were a quick trip. Looking back, I think it is significant that not once did he say, “Daddy, do you have enough gas in the car?”  “Daddy, do you have any money with you?”  “Daddy, do you really know the directions to where are we going?”

You see, he didn’t have to ask those questions. He put his little hand in my hand, and that was all he needed. He was ready to go, because he trusted me. He knew that if he was with me, his needs would be met in abundance. Whether it was a soda from the gas station or a quick trip through fast food drive-through, he knew he wouldn’t go hungry on our trip. If he needed a restroom, Daddy would find one. And he could trust that Daddy would know the way back home when it was time.

I can’t predict to you what will happen in your future. But, I can tell you this, as a believer, what is waiting for you in eternity is wonderful and you don’t have to worry.

My co-host on Ron Phillips from Abba’s House, Angie McGregor, wrote this beautiful song about conquering fear. Listen, and let the fear melt away…

There’s a lot more to say about fear…

At this year’s Big Event, my friend Perry Stone and I will be holding a Spiritual Warfare Conference.

Do you want to know more about how to conquer your fears?

Do you want to learn how to conquer
wicked spirits like Jezebel, Leviathan, and Python?

Do you want to find out how to walk in freedom?

Join us for The Big Event, August 19-23 at Abba’s House. Click the banner below for more information or to register.

Stone-Phillips

Today’s blog adapted from my book
Everyone’s Guide to Demons and Spiritual Warfare
Copyright © 2010 Ron Phillips
Published by Charisma House Book Group

The Truth Will Set You Free… part 2

Truth

Last week on the blog, I talked about truth, and some history regarding the propaganda machine of the German Third Reich, led by Adolph Hitler. We looked at how a small group of people were successful in deceiving an entire nation — and for a time, the world — with disastrous consequences. I made the comment that I believe that, just as the spirit of Jezebel is alive and well today, manifesting itself throughout our homes, churches, and society, the spirit of deception that fueled the Nazi regime is once again rearing its ugly head in our culture today.Look at some of the evidence…

  • The rise of anti-Semitism, not just in predominantly Muslim countries, but right here on Main Street America, on college campuses, and within the walls of our government.
  • All of the controversy surrounding the acceptance of same-sex marriage and the LGBT lifestyle. In recent polls, respondents believed that approximately 20% – 40% of the United States population identified as either gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The fact is, according to the government-sponsored 2014 National Health Interview Survey, people who identify as LGBT make up less than 4% of the U.S. population.
  • The marginalization of Christian belief. While over 70% of Americans claim to be Christian, the American media and entertainment outlets continue to portray Christians in a negative light. Adding fuel to the fire are those in government who insist on laws and legislation that trample upon the convictions and First Amendment rights of those who believe in Christ.
  • Selectivity of news. While the media attempts to make “hard news” out of any remotely-negative story concerning a conservative or Christian person, criminal activity and blatant wrongdoing by more liberal personalities is under-reported or absent from media coverage.
  • While the press clamors to every “gloom and doom” man-made climate change study and school of thought, and the president recently declared that “… the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact”, the UN’s IPCC lead author recently surmised that the majority of climate change is the result of natural variations (nature being nature).
  • Lack of outcry and action regarding atrocities against Christians. As ISIS burns its way across the Middle East, and threats increase in the United States, our government’s lackluster response is extremely troubling.

To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must
be credible; credible, we must be truthful. ~ Edward R. Murrow

PropagandaSo what happened in America? When did the evening news become the propaganda machine for every left-wing organization and ideology? When did news organizations stop reporting news and begin creating it? What happened to news men and women who could put their personal feelings on the shelf for more than 30 minutes — who reported the facts instead of the slant that made the story more scintillating or politically correct? Sometimes, the truth hurts. Growing is painful (hence the term “growing pains”). Yet, we have become a people that cannot bear the slightest pain, cannot abide a differing point-of-view, and will not tolerate an open debate of ideas. We have moved from a society of laws to a society of suggestions. We have replaced absolutes with abstracts and weakly-framed arguments. We have embraced a twisted dialogue in which words like “excellence” and “exceptionalism” are not to be aspired to, but are to be avoided at all costs.

We have become the caterers to the lowest common denominator.

However, much to the chagrin of liberals and leftists… there are absolutes. There are laws that will not change. We all learned about The Law of Gravity in school. Just because you don’t believe in that law does not mean you won’t be very dead if you leap from the top of Empire State Building. If a motorcycle plays “chicken” with a freight train, there are physical laws that won’t stop the motorcycle from being obliterated.

There is truth in this world.

There is THE Truth.

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me. ~ Jesus

So here is the problem: If we are going to have laws, who or what sets the standard? Who gets the deciding vote on what is right or wrong? What makes lying unacceptable? What makes stealing a sin? What makes murder a crime?

If there is no God, exactly WHO makes the rules?

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness…”
~ Isaiah 5:20

The fact is that our basis for law is based upon the Bible — the unchanging, Holy, and infallible Word of God. If we, as a society, have derived our system of law from the teaching contained in the Bible — the Ten Commandments, the teachings of Christ, etc. — then who are we to pick Bibleand choose what is a sin, and what is not? When any society loses the authority of a Supreme Being, that society loses the right to have morals. Regardless of why God calls one thing or another a sin, He does so for a reason. When we begin the process of re-labeling acts based on our finite definition of fairness and decency, we begin to remove the safeguards from society on a spiritual level. God gave everyone a free will, and since the beginning of time, individuals have made the choice to make bad decisions, for which there are consequences. However, I believe that when a nation makes unGodliness public policy, that leadership is putting that nation as a whole in the crosshairs of God’s judgment.

The collusion between government entities, the mouthpiece media, and a radicalized education system has become the “unholy trinity” of our culture. Many of the radicals and rebels of the ’60’s and ’70’s have moved on… they are now professors and teachers of “higher learning” at American colleges and universities. The late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin understood that education, in the wrong hands, becomes a weapon when he said…

Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who
holds it in his hands, and at whom it is aimed. ~ Joseph Stalin

KS77810When truth becomes subjective, the rule of law becomes irrelevant. The rule of law depends upon a standard of truth. Without that standard, anything goes. The Bible calls things “sin” for a reason. It may not make sense to us, and we may not like it, but certain behaviors, attitudes, and actions are wrong, according to the Word of God. Without truth as a standard, if you are going to say that murder by abortion is ok, then it is only logical to assume that bombing an abortion clinic is acceptable. Without the truth standard, it is impossible to call homosexuality and same sex marriage acceptable, and call discrimination unacceptable. Yet, the insanity of the same-sex marriage argument is the fact that we are seeing instances of Christians being discriminated against for upholding their First Amendment-protected religious beliefs under the accusation that they are discriminating against same-sex couples. Furthermore, many of the same people who are busy defending same-sex marriage are also pushing the acceptance and integration of Islam into our society. Folks… Islam and homosexuality are mutually exclusive. Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of North America stated:

“There are many reasons why it is forbidden in Islam. Homosexuality is dangerous for the health of the individuals and for the society. It is a main cause of one of the most harmful and fatal diseases. It is disgraceful for both men and women. It degrades a person. Islam teaches that men should be men and women should be women. Homosexuality deprives a man of his manhood and a woman of her womanhood. It is the most un-natural way of life. Homosexuality leads to the destruction of family life.”

In Islam, the penalty for homosexuality is death.

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. ~ Jesus

The only real freedom is found in the truth, and the only real truth is found in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not set the standard… He IS the standard. He is the embodiment of truth (John 14:6), and any ideology or school of thought that deviates from that truth is merely uneducated guesswork and wishful thinking. When we view science, religion, and philosophy from a standpoint of truth — of objectivity versus hostility — we find that the Bible and these disciplines support each other. If we are willing, in faith, to let go of our finite understanding in favor of His infinite plan and design, only then can we find what has alluded civilization for centuries…

Peace.

Truth, Tie Dyed T-Shirts, & Ice Cream.

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This week, my wife Paulette and I have a unique opportunity to spend a few evenings with some very special people…

We’re hanging out with the 6th and 7th graders at our church.

  image“Summer Shine” VBS started last night at Abba’s House, and Paulette and I have been given the opportunity to teach the 6th and 7th graders. I am looking at this as such a wonderful chance to connect with these young people, glean from their joy and enthusiasm, and sow into them some of what God has imparted to me in my almost 68 years. With all the negative influences we see in society, and the noise that continually attempts to drown out the “still, small voice” of the Holy Spirit, I believe that it is important for those of us who minister to spend time with the generation that is rising, and to assist and encourage parents in establishing a solid spiritual foundation for their children.

The late Dr. W.A. Criswell used to teach young people in his church in order to set a Godly foundation upon which they could grow as believers in Christ. He once said…

“God sends people into our lives just when we need them, to say the right word — His Word — just when we need it.”

imageI believe that this age is the right time for the right Word for these young folks. They are old enough to understand and ask thought-provoking questions; getting a Scriptural mindset that they can take with them into high-school and college — to begin to learn to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

So Paulette and I are here this week to impart, participate, and have fun with this great group. Teaching, tie-dyeing t-shirts, a chocolate fountain, eating ice cream… there’s lots to do. Along with us, we are welcoming our young friends Joel and Alyssa, a young married couple with a contagious enthusiasm for God, as well as Drew and Abby, a couple of Godly young adults who will share from their individual experiences as well. It’s going to be fun!

Have a great week!

The Truth Will Set You Free… part 1

The Truth Will Set You Free… part 1

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels was the Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda under Adolph Hitler. As head of the Nazi propaganda machine, Goebbels understood that words carry weight, and that if you keep a narrative in front of the public long enough — regardless of how flawed or seemingly absurd — eventually people will become desensitized to it, and believe the lie.

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

Nuremberg 1Still reeling from the economic hardship that was a result of German’s defeat in World War I, when the stock market crashed in 1929, Germany was one of the hardest-hit nations in the world. Hitler, who had already come to be known as a not terribly significant figure on the public stage, began to emerge as a more serious political contender. In March of 1932, he lost the national election. However, less than a year later, he was made Chancellor of Germany as the result of having a Nazi majority in the Reichstag (German parliament). About two weeks later, the Reichstag building burned, and the arson was blamed on the Communist Party. Through fear and manipulation, a month later, Hitler was given dictatorial power. Over the next two years, Hitler began to lay the groundwork of eliminating his enemies, and going after the Jewish population of Germany. At the Nuremberg rally in 1934, the movie Triumph of the Will was produced, showing a glorious and revived Germany — patriotic and unified. At the same rally a year later, Hitler addressed “the Jewish problem”, and anti-Semitic laws began to be enacted.

Yet, in spite of this, in the summer of 1936, the world showed up in Berlin for the Olympic games, and were enchanted by the glory and graciousness of the people of Germany.

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

So how could the rest of world be so duped by one nation? How could the world community be so fooled by the Nazis? How is it that, in January of 1939, Adolph Hitler was named Time Magazine’s Man-of-the-Year for 1938?

Propaganda.

Having won multiple film awards throughout Europe, by 1935, Triumph of the Will was required viewing in German schools. Through groups like the “Hitler Youth” and “Hitler Maidens“, young children and teenagers were being indoctrinated into an ideology that put loyalty to the Führer above all. No opposition would be tolerated.

“Intellectual activity is a danger to the building of character.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

We know from history the end result: World War II, the Holocaust, millions of lives lost, the eventual collapse and defeat of Germany.

However, what you may not know is that at no point did the Nazis ever capture more than 37% of the popular vote.

Nuremberg 2So why did the German people turn the leadership of their nation over to a madman like Adolph Hitler? In a documentary film shown in the UK Holocaust Centre, then-student Margret Breuer made this observation as to why people voted for Hitler…

“… Because he promised so much! If you are out of work and don’t know how to live, and then someone comes who wants to change everything that is going wrong — and people felt like things were going badly. Otherwise, they wouldn’t even have listened to him.”

The lie is big on promises. The lie feeds on physical, emotional, and economic starvation. Where there are “sheep” suffering, there is usually at least one “wolf” in the crowd, ready to prey on the weak and unsuspecting. Once Hitler had a few who would listen, the lie began. Once he had a group of followers who bought into the lie, he had a platform from which to proclaim his message, and gain influence and power. Once he had a seat of power, he could manipulate the media. Once Hitler had control of the media, the lie was blasted from the rooftops, and from every bullhorn, loudspeaker, and radio in Germany.

“So where are you going with this, Pastor?” you might ask.

Last week, I blogged about the spirit of Jezebel. I talked about the fact that, although Jezebel has been dead and gone for centuries, the demonic influence that bears her name is alive and well. Likewise, I believe that the spirit of deception that was operating in Nazi Germany is alive and well, and evident in our country and world today…

  • Why are we seeing a resurgence in open and overt anti-Semitism in the world today?
  • Why is it that American Millennials believe that 40% of the U.S. population is LGBT?
  • Why is it that a conservative’s character can be unjustly assassinated in the media, while a liberal who is caught dead-to-rights knee-deep in scandal is given a pass by the same media?
  • How can it be that a celebrity can be hailed as a hero for “coming out”, while true heroes who have sacrificed life and limb are passed over for recognition?
  • Why does our government trivialize the threat of radical Islam in our own country while we watch Christians being slaughtered en masse around the world by barbarians such as ISIS?

As I said at the beginning, this is part 1 of a 2-part blog. At this time next week, we’re going to dive into some tough questions, and find the answers that will help you and I cut through the propaganda, and walk in truth and freedom.

Don’t miss it! See you next week.

Setting the Angel Free

Creación_de_Adám hands

St. Peter's BasilicaArtist, architect, an sculptor Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni is one of the most renowned artisans of all time. Two of his most famous statues, Pietà and David, were created before he turned thirty. His paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, as well as his architectural design of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, are among the most recognized works in the world.

Michelangelo had this to say about his craft…

I saw the angel in the marble, and carved until I set him free.

What a beautiful description of God’s relationship with his children. Using the circumstances of life as His chisel, God knocks the rough edges away, and sculpts us into the works of art He wants the world to see in us.

So for today, here’s a reminder:

The God who began a good work in you has promised to complete it.
When He sets you free, your reflection will be the beauty of His Son, Jesus.

"Michelangelo's Pieta 5450" by Stanislav Traykov - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michelangelo%27s_Pieta_5450.jpg#/media/File:Michelangelo%27s_Pieta_5450.jpg

“Michelangelo’s Pieta 5450″ by Stanislav Traykov – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michelangelo%27s_Pieta_5450.jpg#/media/File:Michelangelo%27s_Pieta_5450.jpg