History and The 9th of Av

Israeli Flag 1

The 17th day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz begins a special season for the Jewish faith (Israel) to which we, as believers in Christ, have been grafted in (Romans 11). The fast of the 17th of Tammuz, (Shivah Asar B’Tammuz), is the beginning of a three-week season of mourning that commemorates the destruction of Jerusalem and the First and Second Temples.

A 21-day period of teshuvah (repentance) is called Bein haMetzarim. This is translated “between the straits” (between the days of distress), or The Three Weeks. This twenty-one day period of mourning and fasting begins with the 17th of Tammuz and ends with the 9th of Av.

During this period, the Orthodox will limit celebrations and enter into a more solemn season of prayer.  This solemn rite is not without hope. Zechariah 8:19 prophesied an outbreak of joy and hope…

“Thus says the Lord of hosts:

The fast of the fourth month,
The fast of the fifth,
The fast of the seventh,
And the fast of the tenth,
Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts
For the house of Judah.
Therefore love truth and peace.’

The Siege and Destrucion of Jerusalem. David Roberts, 1850This season is especially remembered because of the destruction of the First Jewish Temple (Solomon’s Temple) in 586 BC by the Babylonians, and the destruction of the Second Temple (built by Ezra and Nehemiah) by Titus and the Romans in 70 AD. Both events occurred on the 9th of Av, nearly 655 years apart. But the 9th of Av holds other significance in the life of the Jewish people. Other historic events of significance are associated with this day…

  • Rabbinic tradition says (Mishnah Taanit 4:6) that ten of the twelve spies sent into the Promised Land (all but Joshua and Caleb) brought back a negative report on the Promised Land (Numbers 13), and the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness ensued . The night the people cried out in unbelief marks the first 9th of Av becoming a day of mourning for all time.
  • Following the destruction of the Second Temple, the Romans subsequently crushed Bar Kokhba’s revolt, destroying the city of Betar and killing over half-a-million Jewish civilians (approximately 580,000). This took place on 9th of Av, 135 AD. Following the revolt, Roman commander Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Temple in Jerusalem, along with the surrounding area.
  • In 1096, at the decree of Pope Urban II, the First Crusade commenced, unleashing anti-Semitic fever across Europe resulting in 10,000 Jews killed the first month in France and the Rhineland.
  • Jews expelled from England… 1290.
  • Jews expelled from France… 1306.
  • Jews expelled from Spain… 1492.
  • HimmlerGermany entered World War I… 1914. Most historians also believe that the events surrounding the end of World War I led directly to World War II and the Holocaust, wiping out nearly 1/3 of the earth’s Jewish population.
  • Nazi SS Commander Heinrich Himmler received approval from Adolph Hitler for “The Final Solution” resulting in the Holocaust… 1941.
  • The deportation of Polish Jews by Hitler… 1942.

 … and I could go on.

Yet it was this season when they expected
the coming of Sar Shalom… the Prince of Peace!

I am praying in these days, as we move toward the 9th of Av (sunset July 31st through nightfall August 1st) that Jesus the Prince of Peace would protect Israel and His Church, and that soon He would come.

Across the Water

The Lost Art of Reading Billboards

Motel SignBillboards have long been a fixture across the landscape of our country. Just drive down nearly any state highway or interstate, and you will be witness to massive advertisements for any number of businesses, products, services, or causes. From ads for fast food to political candidates to massive marriage proposals, people use billboards to communicate any number of products and ideas.

And in my 70 years on this earth, I don’t ever recall a single time I passed a billboard and witnessed an individual standing on the side of the road, screaming at that billboard while waving a picket sign. A billboard must meet certain community standards in order to be erected in the first place. I see any number of billboards on a daily basis that are advertising something I don’t necessarily agree (or disagree) with.

When I see these, I do what all normal people do… I just keep driving. I don’t stop and scream at the billboard. I stay in my car, maintain my speed, and have probably forgotten about it within a mile.

Wouldn’t it be great if people viewed what they see on the internet and social media the same way they view billboards?

It never ceases to amaze me, the time and energy people put into running something down that they disagree with on the web. In a letter he wrote in 1946, Albert Einstein said something almost prophetic…

“I believe that the abominable deterioration of ethical standards stems primarily from the mechanization and depersonalization of our lives — a disastrous byproduct of science and technology. Nostra Culpa (our fault)!”

Even in 1946 — long before home computers, digital technology, and the internet — Einstein saw technology “depersonalizing” our lives as individuals, and the way we interact with each other. Today we witness people say and do things on the internet — and when I say ‘internet’, I am including social media — that they would never have done even 25 years ago. We see “digital courage” on display on a regular basis; people hiding behind a computer screen, espousing their particular brand of hatred and vitriol from the safety of their bedroom… things they would never dream of saying to another person’s face.

Recently, our church had what we called All American Day. Our church has a long history of patriotic events, dating back over 30 years. I love this country, and I am thankful for the grace God has shown us over the last nearly 250 years. I believe the blessings of God on our nation are worth celebrating. This year, we invited former presidential candidate Governor Mike Huckabee to be our guest speaker. Subsequently, we did a little advertising on social media to promote the event. The text of the ad read…

Governor Mike Huckabee will be speaking this Sunday at Abba’s House in Hixson! Join us for patriotic music and an inspiring message by Gov. Huckabee! The service begins at 10:30am. Abba’s House is located at 5208 Hixson Pike.

No political agenda. No partisanship. No campaigning for a candidate. A former governor, who happens to be a Christian, was speaking about our nation.

What ensued over the next few days was a series of ill-informed, uneducated, judgmental, and even vile posts by people who disagreed with or disliked the idea Governor Huckabee was speaking at our church. While there were many posts that were positive and/or neutral, many crossed the line into absurdity and profanity that we would not even allow on the page. People launched into uninformed and unfounded personal attacks on Governor Huckabee. Others launched into attacks on President Trump. Still others became “Constitutional scholars”, and launched into arguments about the First Amendment, separation of church and state, and the Johnson Amendment (calling into question our church’s tax-exempt status).  I even had one person who proceeded to attack a speaker who spoke at our church several years ago (in an event that was not even sponsored by our church) who has no affiliation to politics, Mike Huckabee, or President Trump.

But what was probably the most disheartening were the attacks commentors made on other commentors, calling them childish and profane names, and belittling total strangers for being hopeful about our nation and our future.

Now normally I don’t respond to comments and criticisms, particularly on my blog. This “conversation”, however, goes to a bigger issue: Decency. I am used to criticism; I’m a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so in a world that is hostile to Him, it comes with the territory. What gets me, though, is the way people instantly become experts about everything they disagree with, which amplifies the idea that, as a believer in Jesus Christ, trying to “fit in” in such a world is not possible.

Here are a few fast facts pertaining to these posts…

  • Former-governor Huckabee is no longer a political candidate. The fact is, before he was Governor Mike Huckabee, he was Pastor Mike Huckabee. More than a decade before he entered politics, he was the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church. One of his former bosses, evangelist James Robison, once said of him…

“His convictions shape his character and his character will shape his policies. His whole life has been shaped by moral absolutes.”

  • The Johnson Amendment (regarding political speech from a pulpit), has to do with the endorsement of a political candidate. Since Mr. Huckabee is neither (at this writing) a political candidate nor endorsing one, this really was a non-issue. In fact, all one has to do is a simple YouTube search, and you will find a variety of politicians (and candidates) who have spoken in churches, from Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and President Donald Trump.
  • There were several comments about the First Amendment and “separation of church and state.” The fact is that the term “separation of church and state” is not in the First Amendment, or in the Constitution at all for that matter. The phrase separation of church and state came from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Baptist Association of Danbury Connecticut. The actual text of the First Amendment of the Constitution reads as follows…

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Jefferson quote 1

While the First Amendment was never meant to keep the Church out of the State, but in fact, to keep the State out of the Church, liberal interpretations of the First Amendment, combined with a mis-interpretation (lack of context) of Jefferson’s words have led us to where we are today. The fact is, Jefferson’s own writings (as well as the writings of many of the founding fathers) bear witness to not only his belief in God, and to his belief that our liberties as a nation are a gift from God. Does it really stand to reason that we should eliminate, from our public life, the very God credited with making our public life, as we know it, possible?

 

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”
~ Thomas Jefferson

 

  • In the social media posts, the word “hypocrite” was bandied about quite a bit. The fact of the matter is, hypocrisy is, by definition, the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. The fact is, nearly everyone exhibits hypocrisy in some form or fashion (if you claim to be a law-abiding citizen, yet you speed, you are, by definition a hypocrite)Monitor 4But here again, for the believer in Christ, fighting against the labels the world attempts to put on us is an untenable position; if we stand unwavering on the tenants of Scripture, particularly with regard to issues of morality, we are labelled “intolerant, bigots, homophobic, judgmental,” etc. But the same people who use such terms to describe people who stand on their Christian moral standards and beliefs are as equally unforgiving of any Christian who appears hypocritical in any way, form, or fashion. Essentially the argument is, “You are going to criticize me if my Christian belief system is counter to your political, social, or moral ideology (ie: if I am NOT a hypocrite), but you are going to criticize me for being a hypocrite if I don’t live my life perfectly in keeping with what I claim to believe.” Are you seeing the absurdity here, in trying to please those who you are never going to please?

I could go on for days, but I would like to bring this all back to the bigger issue I alluded to…

Decency.

While there will always be critics and naysayers, regardless of the topic, there should be an understanding that such “dialogue” is not the acceptable norm. There should be a way, in civil society, that we can “disagree without being disagreeable”, and respond to each other with dignity and respect. It seems that the more tech-saavy we become, the less decent we act. We should be able to have public discourse without the need to go to verbal war. We should be able to have honest debate without vitriolic hate. In the Bible, James implores the believer…

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. ~ James 1:19-20

In Proverbs, we find this truth…

A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. ~ Proverbs 15:1-2

Someone much wiser than me wrote that. It seems like pretty good advice for all of us. We can be uncompromising in our beliefs without being uncharitable in our speech. We should all strive to be passionate about our convictions without being profane in our words and attitude. It is possible to strongly disagree, but do so with unquestionable love, or at least civility.

Maybe it’s time to view social media the same way we view bilboards…

Read… and keep on driving down the road.

Have a great weekend!

Pastor Ron

Mike Huckabee is in the House for All-American Day!

Mike Huckabee

Anyone who knows me knows how much I care about this country. Throughout my 50+ years of ministry, I have desired for America to come back to God, and for revival to once again burn like a wildfire in our land. I know that, in order for that to happen, it takes the people of God getting up off of their pews, out into their communities, and sharing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who will hear.

img_0184Another thing that it takes for revival to happen is for men and women of God to stand in the public square, and to proclaim unashamedly that Jesus is Lord, that right is right and wrong is wrong, and to be champions of truth, the poor and the unborn, and to be a voice against the ungodliness that has leeched into the walls and halls of our government.

Governor Mike Huckabee is such a man.

This Sunday is going to be a special time at Abba’s House as we welcome Governor Huckabee for 🇺🇸AllAmerican Day🇺🇸. There will be stars and stripes, Patriotic music by our choir and orchestra, fireworks, and a special word for this hour by Governor Huckabee.

So join us THIS SUNDAY (July 2) at Abba’s House for 🇺🇸AllAmerican Day🇺🇸! I would love for you to be my special guest. Service begins at 10:30am.

P.S. If you can make it earlier, come at 9:15 and check out our LifeGroups. There’s always room for one more, and you’re always welcome at Abba’s House!

All American Day

Patriots and Partisans: Restoring America

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For the last couple of weeks, all eyes in the political arena were fixed on Georgia’s 6th congressional district. Democrats and liberals from across the nation poured money into the campaign of Democrat Jon Ossoff in his bid to defeat Republican Karen Handel. Ossoff outraised and outspent Handel in what became the most expensive race in U.S. House of Representatives history. Liberal actors and entertainers endorsed Ossoff. Liberal politicians campaigned for him, trying to tie Handel to their perception of President Trump’s unpopularity.

In the end, Karen Handel won a decisive victory for the Republican majority, and liberal Democrats were once again left with just the stench of all of the money they had burned through in their failed attempt to further marginalize the 6-month old Trump Administration.

Candidate XRecently I, along with several others, were given access to some confidential information from a clandestine source inside a liberal think tank. The information we received was disturbing, to say the least.

Those associated with this think tank are determined to execute a coup d’état on our President and our government. While they intend to make it all seem legal, make no mistake about it… their goal is to take down President Trump and his entire administration.

The information we were given outlined the steps of action for their plan.

Dr. Frank Wright of Truths That Transform conveyed the seven steps the socialist/anarchist liberals use to destroy any opposition.

  • Ignore – by haughtily dismissing the others viewpoint.
  • Marginalize – view the person as an extremist.
  • Attack – make up fake news and attack the person through the left wing media.
  • Dismiss – use terms such as “history has sown or experts say…”.
  • Vicious Personal Attacks – use personal attacks on the person so you will ignore their real viewpoint.
  • Restrict – use every effort to block the persons message.
  • Aggressive Legal Effort – use legal force to threaten and attack the opponent.

Normally by step 5 the victim will throw in the towel as we saw with Judge Robert Bork, Sarah Palin, and others. Some have survived the vicious attacks, such as Judge Clarence Thomas, but not without a stained reputation.

Then along came Donald Trump.

Monitor 5He met every one of their attacks with a determination not to be defeated, and has now made it to Level 7 — Aggressive Legal Effort. The liberal left have turned to a “special prosecutor” to bring false charges against the President in an attempt to thwart him in the media and public perception.

Remember — liberals believe that “the end justifies the means” and they will lie, cheat, unify, whine, create anarchy, demonstrate, attack physically, and yes… even resort to murder. We’ve seen it before our very eyes in recent days. One of socialist Bernie Sanders’s followers tried to murder Republican legislators at a ball practice about two weeks ago. According to eyewitnesses, the shooter expended more than 50 rounds of ammunition over a 10 minute period before being taken down by police.

There is nothing any more deceptive, dirty, or mean than a cornered liberal. They will never lose or exit gracefully. They have to be voted out or thrown out.

So, how do they control America? There is a “deep state” — a “shadow government” — that crosses all political lines. Only the fictional Netflix series “House of Cards” even hints at the darkness, deception, and death caused by the “hidden government”.

Now, before you think this is all surreal or impossible — conspiracy theory stuff — consider this…

First… They control through NSA surveillance of all communications between American and foreign nations. It is this illegal surveillance that was used against Donald Trump and has now caused the fake charges against him.

Second… Education and the mainstream media are totally controlled by the “deep state.” Most large universities are almost completely anti-American and socialist in their approach. Furthermore, the liberal media uses all its power, resources, and influence to attack political enemies who oppose their agenda.

Third… They control the governmental coffers of money, and through that, much of the business and banking. They can reward and punish financially.

Fourth… They provide immunity and protection for their cronies. The corrupt and criminal Clintons remain unprosecuted while patriots like General Petraeus are criminalized.

Fifth… The “deep state” can silence their opponents through intimidation, coercion, threats, and even death.

America stands on a battle field unlike any we have ever experienced. The forces of hell are operating in the atheistic, liberal, godless entities lurking in the shadows of our great government.

Monitor 1Right now there are brave souls who are daring to try to “drain the swamp” and to clean up our politics. Unfortunately, even the Republican Party bosses are not standing shoulder to shoulder with our President. Those who love America need to send a powerful message in 2018 to the elite in our halls of government… that message must declare, “You will hear us, and you will represent us, or we will unseat you and replace you with someone who will.”

The reason former President Obama never lost a vote while he had the legislature is because they (Democrats) were unified. Unity is the key, and is something in short supply in the Republican party. Do you mean to tell me that the Republicans can unify for a ballgame, but not unify behind the individual the American people chose as President, the agenda we voted for, and the will of the people who voted them into office to represent THEM… for the good of America?

The Bible gives us this dire warning…

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” ~ Proverbs 29:18a

Now is not the time to quit. It is time to pray, to stand, to speak out, to vote, and to believe. It is the time for the people of God to unify, and for those who have the best interests for the continued health, prosperity, order, and security of our nation to do the same.

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When President Obama was in office, there was very little I agreed with him on. I believed his rhetoric to be divisive. I believed his economic policies were destructive. I believed many of his social policies were godless and immoral. However, I decided I was going to pray for him every day. I encouraged others to do the same. We are commanded in the word of God to pray for those in authority, and we did so. Now I encourage every person reading this who disagrees with President Trump — about anything — to pray for him. God hears the person genuinely seeking Him, and rewards obedience, not anarchy and chaos. LincolnAbraham Lincoln once said, “He has a right to criticize who has a heart to help.” Until you are willing to be a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. You cannot say you care about this nation if you are stubbornly unwilling to pray for those who lead this nation. As I recently read, “Hoping for President Trump to fail is like riding in a plane, and hoping the pilot fails”. What you may find, if you earnestly seek God on behalf of those in authority, is that His will is different from your perspective.

trumps-paradeI believe that the election of Donald Trump was, in part, due to the faithfulness of many who committed to prayer (and fasting) for our nation.  Now we must come together, make our voices heard, demand that the foolishness and childishness of fake news and false accusations be put aside, and for those in the halls of power to come out of the shadows, and get to work for the good of the American people. And for those who are unwilling to do that, know that your days are numbered, that your election is coming, and we the people have influence, determination, and a vote.

It’s time for patriots to rise!

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By the way…

I hope you will make plans now to join us for All-American Day on July 2, 2017 at Abba’s House in Chattanooga. Lots of patriotic music celebrating our nation and our heritage, and a moving message by our very special guest, Governor Mike Huckabee. This is an event you don’t want to miss! For more info, click the image below…

Legalese, Leviathan, and Living in the Land of Confusion

Leviathan 1

     While writing this the other day, none of us could have known the tragedy that would take place on Wednesday morning at the Republican Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, VA, while they were practicing for a charity event.
We live in uncertain times, and we must stay vigilant in standing for what is right and just amidst the confusion that permeates our society.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those injured and affected by this sinister attack, and praying for safety and wisdom for all of our elected officials, military and first responders, and all those in leadership in our nation.

 

In 1986, the rock band Genesis had a Top 10 hit with a song entitled Land of Confusion. The song was a jab at some of the world events and politics of the ’80’s, describing the world’s political and social climate as a “land of confusion”.

Fast forward to 2017…

From Russian hacking to climate change to borderline anarchy, we in 2017 are rapidly proving that any confusion surrounding 1986 doesn’t even compare. With so much misinformation through “fake news”, then regurgitated through channels like social media, it’s a wonder that we can find the truth at all. Watching some of the Congressional hearings and questioning surrounding who did what with regard to Russia collusion and information leaks, and wading through legalese and political jargon… it’s enough to make your head spin.

Welcome to the Land of Confusion.

Why are people being dragged through the mud and disparaged over baseless allegations while people breaking the law by leaking said information are being ignored? Why are we even chasing straw-man issues like Russian hacking and collusion while some of our leaders won’t recognize the immediate threat of Islam and Islamic groups like ISIS? Why is the media, liberals, and political establishment working at unprecedented levels to discredit our new president before he can even get his agenda off the ground? Why is it ok to espouse every left-wing, left-field politically-correct ideology that comes down the road while ignoring the freedoms of others, the law of the land, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of the United States? Why are the very people (and liberal media) who are so quick to jump on the separation of church (religion) and state bandwagon, whenever a Christian is involved, silent while we are being force-fed Islamic ideology in schools and in the public square?

I’ll tell you why… Leviathan.

Leviathan is first mentioned in the Bible, in the Book of Job…

May those curse it who curse the day,
Those who are ready to arouse Leviathan. ~ Job 3:8

“Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook,
Or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?
  Can you put a reed through his nose,
Or pierce his jaw with a hook?
  Will he make many supplications to you?
Will he speak softly to you?
  Will he make a covenant with you?
Will you take him as a servant forever?
  Will you play with him as with a bird,
Or will you leash him for your maidens?
  Will your companions make a banquet of him?
Will they apportion him among the merchants?” ~ Job 41:1-6

Hundreds of years later, he is mentioned again by the prophet Isaiah…

In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong,
Will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent,
Leviathan that twisted serpent;
And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea. ~ Isaiah 27:1

Although we don’t know exactly what species Leviathan was, Brow-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon says that this is a dragon not unlike a dinosaur. Some believe it was possibly a crocodile.

Whatever Leviathan is, in the Bible, it is symbolic of evil.

In the spiritual realm, it is a giant spirit that blocks the flow of God’s purpose, power, and prosperity in the lives of God’s people. The name Leviathan literally means “to twist”. This demonic force twists everything to hinder the flow of God. Just like a crocodile hides in the mud, or just under the surface of the water, waiting to attack, so the Leviathan spirit tries to hide where the Word of God and the flow of God’s spirit are moving among people. Just as the crocodile attacks suddenly after waiting patiently for hours and hours on end, grabbing its prey and twisting it under the muddy waters until it drowns, so the Leviathan spirit goes unnoticed and unobserved until it strikes, twisting its victim until the damage is done, and they are buried in an abyss of darkness and confusion. He stays hidden until he is exposed by God.

The Leviathan spirit will not live in covenant, making it the most dangerous of spiritual enemies that I can think of. Where this spirit is present and working, covenant relationships are broken, marriages are destroyed, business partnerships crumble, friendships dissolve, and churches implode.

As we go through 2017, we are seeing the Leviathan spirit permeating our society like never before, through…

  • An unprecedented assault on the freedoms of Christians by the politically correct “thought-police” of the homosexual lobby. Since even before the acceptance of same-sex marriage in 2015, our freedom to peacefully disagree with this unGodly “alternative lifestyle” was being trumped by a militant LGBT agenda that labels anyone who thinks homosexuality is a sin a “bigot” or “intolerant”. To take a stand against the wave of acceptance of same-sex marriage could cost a person their job, business, and livelihood (not to mention the threats of bodily harm and death that are growing increasingly more common). This intolerance of Christians has become so obvious that many thinking, peaceful people in the homosexual community have actually spoken out publicly against it, bemoaning the intolerance that the LGBT crowd is exhibiting toward Christians. While the new Administration has been more supportive of the rights of Christians and free speech, the media continues to push back, doubling down on the LGBT agenda through “news” outlets and television programming.
  • The continuing assault on motherhood. A twisted form of feminism through the media appears to empower women innocently, but in reality, women are shunning the responsibility of child-rearing in the name of “freedom”. Women are escaping motherhood altogether through the diabolical and barbaric practice of abortion, or simply giving their kids to ex-husbands or grandparents to raise. Through the examples of many women idolized in pop-culture, the idea of what it means to be a woman, wife, and mother is being twisted and confused. The ideas and spectacle alone of The Women’s March in Washington on January 21, 2017 should give pause to anyone contemplating this ideology.
  • The orphan generation. The previous generation has often been labelled “fatherless” because of the millions of deadbeat fathers who walked away from the responsibilities of father and family. We can only assume that this next generation has the potential of being orphaned — fatherless and motherless — spiritual orphans who can understandably be the the easiest prey for demonic forces.
  • The continuing assault against our schools. Even after prayer was taken from school and a misunderstood interpretation of the separation of church and state was implemented, parents could rest assured, knowing that our children would be taught basic freedoms and values that made this country great. However, even in the Bible Belt (Southern United States), the precedent has now been set that includes teaching homosexuality as a normal, alternative lifestyle. Furthermore, as Christians, our right to disagree with this line of “education” has been stripped away. The great minds that once led in academia now live in fear of being ostracized and ridiculed by the media, or losing government funding, if they disagree.
    Leviathan twists historical records, interjects twisted testimonials from professing homosexuals, and distorts community support until schools are buried beneath waves of so-called “tolerance”. It is pretty obvious that Leviathan is alive and well as test scores continue to plummet, and our students are graduating less educated now than at any time in history.
  • The insanity of the acceptance of Islam and Sharia Law in America. Even as we have watched the Middle East and Africa go up in flames in recent years, we have politicians who are becoming increasingly accepting of bringing the beliefs and practices of Islam to America. Even as Islamic terror attacks are being perpetrated in our own country, the chants of “tolerance”, “diversity”, and “coexistence” are regurgitated by liberals whose battle cry seems to be, “Can’t we all just get along (with anyone who is not a Christian)?” However, these people fail to realize one big problem: You cannot co-exist with someone who is trying to kill you! Yet, now that we have a President who is taking a stand FOR the protection of the American people and AGAINST radical Islam, there are those on the left that are becoming unhinged at the idea of extreme vetting and common-sense immigration policies.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Confusion is rampant in our nation, and the spirit of Leviathan is alive and well.

So what are we to do? How do we defeat this diabolical enemy?

In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong,
Will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent,
Leviathan that twisted serpent;
And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea. ~ Isaiah 27:1

Leviathan 2Leviathan is defeated with the sword of the Lord, which is severe, great, and strong. The Lord’s sword is the Word and Spirit, as we in Ephesians 6:17…

“…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

We also find in Hebrews that the sword is discerning.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. ~ Hebrews 4:12-13

This sword helps you recognize Leviathan; you cannot without the Holy Spirit and the Word. When the church is determined to let Jesus speak, this sword will operate and Leviathan will flee!

What must we do?

Realize our pride is from the enemy. Look at this scripture about Leviathan…

He beholds every high thing; He is king over all the children of pride.” ~ Job 41:34

Leviathan is king of all pride. Pride keeps us away from God. Pride causes us to be offended easily. Pride causes us to fall. Pride keeps us from God’s plan.

An old pastor I once knew…

….was in a restaurant having lunch one day. As he was about to eat, he noticed a man sitting at the bar of the restaurant alone. The old pastor began to be prompted by the Holy Spirit to share Jesus’ love with the man. However, even as pastors sometimes do, he tried to shrug off the Spirit’s prompting, citing the usual excuses (pride, schedule, etc) we all make for not witnessing to others. Finally, when he could bear the conviction no longer, he walked up to the counter next to the man.

“Excuse me”, the old pastor said. “May I tell you something?”

“Sure,” came the reply.

“I just wanted to tell you that God loves you and sent His only Son Jesus to die for your sins. Could I tell you how to be saved?”

To his astonishment, the man looked at him and replied, “Sir… I’ve been sitting here waiting for you.”

Friends, there is a world waiting…

They are looking for love. They are looking for guidance. They are looking for someone to trust and follow. There is a lot of confusion and deception going on today, and the spirit of Leviathan is alive and well. I have traveled the world and have seen the hunger in the eyes of people who have joined a “religion”, if for no other reason, because they were looking for something bigger than themselves… something that would give them answers; however, all it did was leave them more confused and misguided.

When we as Christians abdicate our responsibility because of fear, we kick open the door to an enemy that is more than willing to send people looking for answers on a wild-goose-chase in the Land of Confusion.

As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. ~ 2 Peter 3:16-18

One final thought…

Notice these words – twist, destruction, fall, led away – all are the work of Leviathan. How do we defeat him? You just read the answer…

Grow…through scripture.

Grow…in grace (love and forgiveness).

Grow…in knowledge (intimacy with Jesus).

It’s time to lead the captives out of the Land of Confusion and into the marvelous light of God’s love!

Want to learn more about the Leviathan spirit?
Learn more in my book Everyone’s Guide to Demons and Spiritual Warfare

 

The Cost of Service

IMG_2842

BedfordNestled in the heart of Virginia, there is a small town named Bedford. Unassuming in its quaintness, with a population of less than 7,000, Bedford is quintessential “small town America”. But if you dig a little deeper, Bedford has a unique and hallowed distinction in the life of America.

img_2738.jpgThis small town lost more men, per capita, in the Normandy landings on D-Day than any other municipality in America. In 1944, this small town had a population of around 3,200. On June 6, 1944, Bedford lost twenty of her sons in the event known as Operation Overlord, the allied incursion that was the beginning of the end of the Nazi stranglehold on Europe.

Earlier this week marked the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. With a force of over 150,000, the victory that day was significant. But at what cost?

IMG_2803With over 10,000 casualties including over 4,400 soldiers killed, the Allies paid a steep price for the victory at Normandy. In the wake of victory, within days, communities all over America were mourning the loss of their sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers who died on those beaches; men who put their lives on the line for the sake of freedom, not just for our nation, but for freedom loving people throughout the world.

Every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17), but comes at a cost to someone. Freedom and liberty come at the cost of diligence and, when necessary, brave men and women fighting and giving their lives for the sake of freedom. Wealth and prosperity come at the cost of years of hard work and keeping one’s nose to the grindstone. Staying healthy comes at the cost of diligently eating right, exercising, and taking care of your body. For the Christian, salvation is free, but came at the cost of the precious blood and life of Jesus. Service and sacrifice are the price of the things that are most important to us, and anything worth having is going to cost something to someone.

IMG_2823So with the examples set before us, for what are we willing to sacrifice? What principles and beliefs are we willing to get up off the couch for, leave our comfort zone, and dedicate our lives to the service of? At what point do we decide that we are not here for ourselves and our needs, but are to serve others and their needs? For the patriot; duty, service, and honor are the prices of strength and freedom. For the believer in Christ, Paul put it this way…

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. ~ Colossians 3:1-4

IMG_2838Regardless of the circumstance — whether standing for the truth of God’s Word, for the rights of the poor and disadvantaged, against the forces of dishonesty and corruption in our world (like fake news, lawless counter-culture activism, and Godless ideologues that parade themselves as social justice warriors) — the time has come for decent people of good will to get off the fence, off the sidelines, and get involved in making a difference through serving others, and letting their voices be heard.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for
good men to do nothing.”

This famous quote by Irish statesman Edmund Burke is a great reminder for a society seemingly at the tipping point of anarchy. But Burke said something else just as pertinent to where we are today…

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing
because he could do only a little.”

Truth.

We all have different gifts, abilities, and resources. But it takes all of us working together with whatever gifts we are given to make a difference, in this world and in the next.

Think about it.

Pastor Ron

Revival in the Age of Instant Coffee

Coffee w TAIWWe live in an age where we want everything fast… instantly, as it were.

Like coffee.

Sure, it smells and tastes like coffee. It may even have enough caffeine to give you a good jolt. But to most discerning coffee aficionados, they can smell a cup of instant coffee coming a mile away, and they are NOT happy about it. To them, there is nothing like the taste of a fresh-brewed cup made from freshly-ground coffee beans from some exquisite place, where the air, soil, and atmosphere are perfect for the growing of those sacred beans., Yes sir, the true coffee-snob can tell you what kind of coffee it is, where it was grown, and a variety of facts about the country of origin.

So why do we think God is any less discerning?

Most of us want things fast and on our terms, and in most cases if we are honest, the spiritual life is no exception. The only problem is that anything related to a Spirit-filled life is not dictated by our wills, whims, and calendars, but by the Holy Spirit of God Himself. He has His timetable (“a day is as a thousand years…”), and is not at the mercy of our schedules.

Azusa StreetMost people who run in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles are familiar with the Azusa Street Revival that began in 1906, considered by many to be the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement. Led by William J. Seymour, the Azusa Street Revival continued for several years, and included Holiness congregants, Baptists, Mennonites, Quakers, Presbyterians, and others. However, many in our country may not be familiar with another outbreak of the Spirit, in Europe, that preceded Azusa Street…

The Awakening in Wales.

In her book, The Awakening in Wales (and some  of the hidden springs), Jessie Penn-Lewis documents the Welsh Revival (1904-1905), a mighty move of the Holy Spirit that took the country of Wales by storm. During that period, approximately 150,000 people gave their lives to Christ, in a country with a population of approximately just over 2 million. Miracles, signs, wonders, and incredible outpourings of the Holy Spirit happened during that time.

So what prompted such radical transformation? What was it that made the Welsh Revival different from the “revival” happening at the church down the street from your house right now? What were the markings of this mighty move of God? In The Awakening in Wales, a few points repeatedly come to the surface…

They prayed and prepared.

Not just days and months.

In the YEARS leading up to 1904, Christians in Wales joined in passionate prayer, believing and asking God for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit. “Prayer-circles” were formed and people met at specific times to pray earnestly and deliberately, for hours on end. People traveled from place to place and spread the “fire” they had gotten in one place or meeting to other towns and villages. Prayer-circles began to spring up simultaneously and spontaneously, not just in Wales, but in other countries as well.

As well as prayer, many who participated did not wait until the events of 1904-1905 to seek after the Spirit of God. Many came to the meetings, having already been filled with the Holy Spirit. Much of this was due to the fervent prayer that went on ahead of time; people seeking after God with no reservations or selfish agendas. They didn’t wait for a meeting or a moment for something to happen; the further outpouring of the Spirit of God at the meetings was a by-product of the months and years of preparation that had already taken place.

There was unity.

In Wales, the people of God came together. Churches set aside denominational labels and walls for the sake of a common goal: A mighty move of the Holy Spirit. In I Corinthians 1:10, Paul appeals to the believers in Corinth…

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Penn_LewisBut the unity was not just between the people of Wales. Jessie Penn-Lewis stated…

“The object-lesson that stands out the clearest, and speaks the loudest, to the Church of God, is the fact that the Spirit of God moved upon the unsaved in converting power as soon as the Christians in a particular church, or specific meeting, were in harmony with God.” ~ from The Awakening in Wales

The people were in unity and harmony with God. And make no mistake about it… being in unity with the King of Kings is all about being in His will, His timing, and His purposes.

The message of the Cross of Calvary was central.

 

“As we recall the conditions preceding the first Pentecost, we cannot forget that CALVARY WAS A TERRIBLE FACT to each one of the little company in the upper room.

There is no Pentecost without a preceding Calvary.” ~ Jessie Penn-Lewis

The message of the Cross, and Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary, was the central theme of the Revival. Penn-Lewis went on to say…

“The world has seen before its eyes that the preaching of the Cross is in very truth the dynamic of the Gospel, and is the energy of God to actually and really save men from the bonds of sin. And what is of greater consequence, the Church of God has been rallied, as by a voice from Heaven, to the banner of the Cross.”

Others also explained…

“We have been critics of the Bible when we should have been devotees. We have preached Christ as an ideal of sacrifice, but have left out His atonement for sin. Now, thank God, there is a return to the Book, and to Calvary…

The Revival has brought us back to the Cross of Christ.”

It is the Cross that saves. It is the message of the Cross, and the power of the Holy Spirit that convicts men and women of their sin, and their need for a Savior. The recipe for revival is actually a fairly simple one: Prayer, unity in the Spirit, and the Message of the Cross. The fruit of that was evidenced in the more than 150,000 souls who entered the Kingdom of Heaven through the principality of Wales in 1904-1905.

Seriously.

The revival we speak of is not going to happen until we get serious about seeking God through prayer, fasting, repentance, and unity of the Spirit. God told His people in Jeremiah 29:13…

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

All of our heart means we check our schedules at the door.

All of our heart means we set aside our agendas and our plans.

All of our heart requires singular focus, with a constant eye on the prize.

So are you ready for revival? A REAL revival? A revival that changes the course of a nation, and ushers souls into the Kingdom in droves? A destiny-changing moment in time that is more than an event advertised on a marquee?

I am.

It’s time to put on the “coffee pot”…

Let it brew nice and slow…

Allow the aroma to fill the air…

And take time to prepare something worthy of the King.