Tag Archive | Isaiah

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

 

Words Matter.

MLK1“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last week, we all witnessed the horrific slaughter of five American heroes on the streets of Dallas, TX. When Micah Johnson opened fire on police at a protest on July 7, it became the deadliest day for American police since September 11, 2001.
Yet, in spite of the horror of an “active shooter” environment, witnesses testified to the fact that the heroes of the Dallas police ran toward  the gunfire when the shooting started. Blue Line
In the end, Officers Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa, Brent Thompson, Sgt. Michael Smith, and Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens were killed, seven other officers were wounded, as well as two bystanders. Ironically, these policemen were at the protest to protect protestors who were, in essence, protesting THEM.

Now, I want to start off by making a bold statement that some may or may not agree with…

America is NOT a racist nation.

IMG_1904Does some racism exist in our nation? Sadly, yes. However, to call America racist because of the actions of a minority of its citizens is simply wrong… misleading at best. It appears that when you are a politician, calling someone “racist” is far easier than logically explaining your position, or why you may disagree with someone. In my opinion, the misuse of the word “racist” is, in many cases, racist in and of itself. It is a word with significant meaning that is bandied about far too often and far too carelessly.

Statistics speak volumes. Most of what we see in the media, in polls and news stories, is based on statistical information. With that being said, let me share a few stats with you…

There are approximately 765,000 law enforcement officers in the United States who carry “arrest power” (the authority to arrest an individual). All total, there are over 1.1 million people who work in some capacity of law enforcement. An October 2015 article in The Washington Post confirmed the following…

… “Only a small number of the shootings — roughly 5 percent — occurred under the kind of circumstances that raise doubt and draw public outcry, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. The vast majority of individuals shot and killed by police officers were…armed with guns and killed after attacking police officers or civilians or making other direct threats.”

… “Of the 800 people killed by police this year, almost half have been white, a quarter have been black and one-sixth have been Hispanic.”

Now, statistically speaking, what one can surmise from this article is that…

  • Out of 765,000 officers, only 800 (total) have been involved in a fatal confrontation.
  • According to this statistic, .1% of police were involved in a shooting the year this article was written (2015).
  • Of the 800 people killed, the majority were white, and only a quarter were black.
  • Based on these approximations, and assuming that EVERY killing was unjustified (which we are not, except for the purpose of this example), that leaves approximately .03% of all police officers as being involved in the killing of African-Americans.

And please remember, these statistics come from The Washington Post, not what many would consider a “right-wing news outlet”.

Let’s look at another statistic…

According to research done around 1999 by Capitol Hill Blue, an online publication that covers federal politics, after researching public records, newspaper articles, civil court transcripts, and criminal records, CHB uncovered the following:

  •  29 members of Congress had been accused of spousal abuse.
  •  7 had been arrested for fraud.
  • 19 had been accused of writing bad checks.
  • 117 had bankrupted at least two businesses.
  • 3 had been arrested for assault.
  • 71 had credit reports so bad they couldn’t qualify for a credit card.
  • 14 had been arrested on drug-related charges.
  • 8 had been arrested for shoplifting.
  • 21 were current defendants in lawsuits.
  • In one year (1998), 84 were stopped for drunk driving, but released after they claimed Congressional immunity.

There are no more than 435 members of Congress, and 100 members of the Senate. So, assuming no person has been guilty of more than one of the charges listed…

  • Out of 535 members of the two houses of Congress, 164 have been accused of crimes… 31%.
  • In one year, 16% were stopped for drunk driving.
  • 5% are accused of spousal abuse.
  • 3% were arrested on drug charges.

The point I am making is that, while ANY loss of life is tragic, a little perspective would be in order before we start making reckless generalizations. Saying that police are a bunch of “racist thugs just out to kill blacks” because of a few questionable incidents is as irresponsible as saying that all politicians are “drunks, wife-beaters, and drug addicts” because of the actions of a few. Honestly, statistically speaking, you would have more evidence to support those claims than saying “all cops are racist killers”.

Many in our current leadership are trying to divide our nation along racial, gender, and other socio-economic lines. With the recent shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rogue, people in positions of authority began making accusations of racism before hardly any of the facts were in. Such rhetoric, although common during election years, is not at all constructive, and only succeeds to divide us further. When those in authority speak irresponsibly, it only serves to feed and fuel the misguided passions of those who would use such words as justification for acts of evil and hatred.

We hear the word integration a lot. This word comes from the Latin word integrare which means to make whole. By definition, it takes all parts coming together to comprise a whole. In America, we have always found our strength in our coming together. There is undeniable power in unity. The power of unity is a Scriptural principle…

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus promised that when we come together in unity in His name, He would show up…

“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

In spite of the hate and division we have seen, I have seen glimpses that have given me hope for our hurting nation. A popular picture being circulated on social media in recent days depicts a group of African-American men standing in solidarity with, and protecting, the police force on the streets of Baltimore. Images such as these should be plastered all over the news. Yet all too often, the media focuses on every negative story as it relates to the police. When the de facto bias of news outlets becomes one of anti-authority fear-mongering and hatred, it is no wonder that the citizens of our nation become cynical, skeptical, and suspicious of anyone wearing a police uniform. Yes, I will freely admit that there are “bad cops”. There are officers who have made regrettable mistakes that have cost lives. However, I refuse to take what is a vast majority of these brave, dedicated, and sacrificial public servants and lump them into a category of corruption and abuse of power exhibited by a microscopic minority.

Last week, in the aftermath of the death of Alton Sterling, several anti-police protests took place in Baton Rogue. According to reports, these protests were, for the most part, peaceful. It was not until out-of-town agitators arrived that the protests turned violent, with dozens of arrests taking place. We have seen this over and again in places like Ferguson, MO, and Baltimore, MD. But for those who would try to turn a horrible tragedy into an opportunity and excuse for lawlessness, I would echo the warning that the Apostle Paul issued in Romans 13…

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. ~ Romans 13:1-4

So what do we do now? Where do we go from here?

Well, a good starting point would be to take these words of advice, promise, and warning from the prophet Isaiah…


“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;

Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.”

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. ~ Isaiah 1:16-20

All Lives MatterWords matter.

We can choose to make those words of healing, restoration, unity, and life.

Or…

We can make those words drip with hatred, division, and death.

The choice is ours… all of ours.

Blessings,
Pastor Ron

Standing Alone, Yet Never Alone

Caught in the Storm

Our culture does not favor people who are not part of the system. Those who are willing to stand alone, if necessary, for their convictions are rare indeed! When one feels alone, Satan would have you play the victim. He is a liar. Being willing to stand alone for the truth is a major character builder. It also makes us like Christ Himself.

Our Lord was left alone in the Garden of Gethsemane when the battle for our souls was at stake. The unbidden blood of lonely stress was the first shed for our souls. The prophet Isaiah saw this 700 years before it happened. Speaking of the cross, Isaiah shared this

“I have trodden the wine press alone and of the people there was none with me…”      ~ Isaiah 63:3

Often Jesus would get alone…

“He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone…” ~ John 6:15

When He came away from that “aloneness,” He could walk on water and still storms.

Our culture loves conformity and fears non-conformity. One must go along with the “party line”. One must “go along to get along,” yet there are times when conformity — and even unity — must give way to convictions.

The Reformation exploded in Wittenberg, Germany when Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door and said, while standing alone, “Here I stand… God help me, I can do no other.”

King DavidAbraham was alone when God gave him the revelation of Isaac.

Moses was alone when a burning bush changed the destiny of a nation.

Jacob was alone when God wrestled him to submission and changed him to Israel.

Isaiah was alone when he saw a vision of God’s throne and received a world changing assignment.

David was alone when he sang the 23rd Psalm.

Jeremiah saw judgment while he said, “I sat alone because of your hand.” (Jeremiah 15:17)

Ezekiel “fell on his face alone” as God spoke to him.

Daniel spoke, “I, Daniel, alone saw the vision…” (Daniel 10:7-8)

John was alone on the Isle of Patmos when the Revelation was unfolded before him.

Standing alone for God means you’re never alone. He stands with those who are willing to stand alone.

Listen to St. Paul in 2 Timothy 4:16-17…

“At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me…
but the Lord stood with me.”

Sometimes standing alone moves you into the company of the Lord and the angels!

In the Academy Award winning movie on the life of Thomas Becket called “Becket,” there is a scene I will never forget. Becket had been King Henry II’s chancellor. With the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the King gave Becket that office as leader of the Church of England. For a season, Becket served in both offices. Eventually, he gave up the office as chancellor as his loyalty was now with the Lord and the church. Through tears, King Henry said to Becket, who had been his best friend for 15 years, “I shall learn to be alone.”

As a Baptist preacher, I thought I had many friends. Yet after the Spirit baptized me and I began to operate in all the gifts, those friends vanished. I learned to be alone. I would throw my heart around someone, help someone, and think, “Here is a friend I can call on.” However, as soon as standing with me became difficult, they would leave. I learned to be alone – but alone is not alone. For me, the by-products of standing alone include:

  • Intimacy with God
  • Power
  • 37 books written
  • Answered prayer
  • Angelic manifestation

I can say for all the lonely days and nights, “The Lord stood with me!”

Pastor Ron

At What Cost?

SilverA  few weeks ago, there was a segment on the news where a dozen people were offered – for free – a Hershey chocolate bar or a ten ounce bar of silver. All of them took the candy. The candy bar was worth a dollar or two. The silver bar was worth $142.00 at spot prices on that day. People did not know the value of what was before them.  There is a segment on the TV show The O’Reilly Factor (with Bill O’Reilly) called Watters’ World. In this segment, Jesse Watters asks people on the street simple questions about current events, history, and politics. Although often humorous, it is sad that people are so ill informed about this great country in which they live, and — not just our history — but current events as well.

I have just finished extensive research on a number of issues affecting the future of our civilization and culture…issues like abortion, homosexual lifestyle and marriage, global warming, freedom of religion, governmental cover ups , hidden political agendas, the influence of secret societies , the threat of Islamic terror, and Israel’s right to exist. What has blown me away is that even when presented with irrefutable facts and credible evidence, people STILL believe propaganda, Internet hoaxes, and deceptive talking points. As Isaiah has said, “Truth has fallen in the streets“.

Bathroom signNow we have a socialist being supported by the majority of college students and young adults in the presidential election. We have people worried about transgender bathrooms and the news media making it a big story, while ignoring the slaughter of 250 Christian  women and girls in Mosul, a 16 year old beaten to death in an American high school, wild and godless gangs making our cities killing fields, the influx of Islamic radicals, the silencing of a middle school choir singing our National Anthem near the 9/11 memorial, and the continued murder of the unborn through abortion.

As darkness falls on our nation, we are choosing the temporary over the eternal, the trivial over the important, and evil over good. Even ministers and church folk are drinking the “Kool-aid” of ignorance.

While Russia was falling to the Bolsheviks, the Russian church was discussing the trim on their vestments. While our society plunges deeper and deeper into depravity and destruction, the church is busy splitting hairs over worship styles, the color of hymnbooks, and any number of peripheral issues that matter not one iota in the grand scheme of eternity. This is a critical year for Western civilization and our Judeo-Christian heritage, and we in the church of Jesus Christ need to recognize these perilous times for exactly what they are.

Dachau 2Several years ago, I was in Germany where we visited the Dachau Concentration Camp. Our host was telling us the story of when the camp was liberated by the Allies in April of 1945. When the liberating force confronted the citizens in the surrounding area about the horrific camp, the people claimed ignorance. “We didn’t know” was their excuse.

The commander of the Allied company pointed to the ash in the air and the smell of burnt human corpses emanating from the ovens that had been burning the bodies of the deceased…

“How could you NOT know?” was his alleged response.

Grave2aSo, I ask the same question… How can we NOT know? How can we not see the truth in front of our eyes? How can we continue to ignore the desperation of the times in which we live? How can we not see the writing on the wall, holding us accountable for our silence while our society slips further into the abyss? We will one day stand before a Holy God and, when asked about all of the souls we allowed to pass into a godless eternity, “We didn’t know” will not be an adequate response.

Chalk outline - crossTo hold to the truth of scripture is to be called a bigot. To have a problem with a grown man sharing a bathroom with a young girl is being “intolerant”. To demand that our leaders protect our borders is being “racist”. We are living to see our culture “calling good evil and evil good…” God issued a warning of “woe” to come on such. The worst of it is the awful silence in the contemporary pulpit — the failure to warn the nation. I for one will inform the uninformed, call sin by its proper name, and declare that people need to be saved. I will stand by the truth that the church cannot embrace the lies of culture and remain authentic. We must bear the scandal of the cross  and refuse to be silent in the face of evil. We must care enough to speak the truth regardless of how we may be labelled —  bigot, homophobe, racist, intolerant. Satan and his forces are stalking our families and communities. It is time to stop letting a liberal culture and media define us for simply believing in something and Someone. It’s time to stop being afraid of “ugly names” and start fearing for the souls of lost men and women heading into a hopeless eternity.

It is PAST time for the Church to rise up with the Word of Truth and go to war against ”the lie”.

At what cost will we keep silent?

 

Pastor Ron

Politics and The Art of Reason

With all of the recent discussion regarding the upcoming election, I thought I would chime in with a few thoughts about one of the topics that has obviously struck a nerve in our nation…

Immigration.

I have given some thought to this, and thought I would share with you a few ideas that, if I were the guy in charge, would be a part of my platform. For lack of a better term, let’s just call it the Phillips Immigration Plan.

IMG_1904VISAS

It is essential for all foreign nationals to have a visa when they are travelling to the United States, as without one they will not be allowed to enter the country.

For those who are travelling to the country for religious events (since I am a Christian pastor, and religious events are important to me) there are Christian event visas. The numbers of these that are issued each year are limited, simply due to the large numbers of people who would wish to visit. It is important to adhere to the dates which are issued on the visa as if you overstay you can be subject to fines and further delays before you can return to your home country.

For those who are planning a short visit to the U.S., it is possible to get a visitor visa, although these will be limited. In order to get a visitor visa, you would need to be invited by a company or individual as they will be your sponsor and officially responsible for you during your visit. It is the sponsor who must apply for the visa on behalf of the visitor.

It should also be noted that if you are rejected for a visa, then it would not be worth reapplying as it is unlikely that you would be reconsidered.

Visitors or workers that have a stamp from any Latin American country in their passport or any visible connection with any such country will not be allowed entry into the U.S. If you do need to travel to a Latin American country for any reason, it may be possible to ask the authorities in those countries to stamp a separate sheet of paper rather than the actual passport, so that your future travel is not limited in this way.

Residency

When a person is applying for residency in the United States, they must be in possession of a firm job offer from a company operating within the country. A residency permit will not be issued unless this is the case. It should also be noted that residency permits are rarely issued when a person is already in the country on a short stay visa. Residency permits are normally issued when the individual is still in their home country. The permit acts as an ID card and the worker must carry it with them at all times, as the authorities can request to see it at any time. Failure to comply can lead to heavy penalties.

Citizenship

Foreign citizens would very rarely be granted citizenship in the United States. This is due to the strict limits that would be placed on immigration in the U.S. For most people the only way to become a citizen would be to marry a U.S. citizen, but this is no guarantee that citizenship status can be granted, particularly if the foreign national is not a Christian. A person applying for citizenship will have to be prepared to give up their own nationality as dual nationality will not be permitted. Those who marry a U.S. citizen can later have their citizenship taken away if the marriage ends.

It is possible for the President of the U.S. to offer citizenship status to a foreign born worker if they have lived and worked in the country for a long time and their service there is considered to be exceptional. It is possible for an employer who has a good foreign worker to offer them work and residence permits that are indefinite, but there will still be an issue when the worker retires, and only employers with a great deal of influence will be able to ensure that this continues when the work stops. This is not the same as citizenship status and only gives the worker the right to live in the country.

The naturalization laws would allow expatriates to apply for citizenship. Citizenship can be granted after a vigorous assessment process, but there would be a trial period lasting for 10 years, during which the behavior of the new citizen is monitored to ensure that they continue to be of good character. Those who make false statements in order to obtain citizenship are heavily fined and their applications are instantly rejected. Those who spend a great deal of time outside the country once they have obtained citizenship may also find that it can be withdrawn.

Citizenship can only be applied for by those who have already spent 10 years working and living in the country and applicants must be living in the country when they make their application, with all the relevant visas and permits in place and valid. An applicant will also need to demonstrate a good level of proficiency in English and most will require a reference from a local pastor or clergyman to show that they are of good character and that they have integrated well into the community. An applicant who is considered to be of unsound mind will not be considered for citizenship.

Those who have a child in the United States should be aware that the child will take on the nationality of the parents and will not automatically be entitled to U.S. citizenship, unless one of the parents is a U.S. citizen. In this case the child can be given local nationality and claim a passport from that country.

So what do you think? Do I sound pretty reasonable, or pretty harsh? Some of you may agree. Some of you may think I have lost my mind.

Well, in the interest of coming clean, I have a confession to make…

This is not my immigration plan. This is not even the immigration plan of any political candidate currently running for president. These “ideas” are actual visa, residency, and immigration laws of the nation of Saudi Arabia, with a few “minor” changes…

  • Where is says “U.S.” or “United States“, substitute “Saudi Arabia”.
  • Where it says “President“, substitute “King”.
  • Where it says “English“, substitute “Arabic”.
  • Where it says “Christian“, substitute “Muslim”.
  • Where it says “local pastor or clergyman“, substitute “Imam”.
  • Where it says “Latin American country“, substitute “Israel”.

Already, during this election cycle, I have seen a lot of things said by reporters, commentators, pundits, and political hacks that, quite frankly, are somewhat disturbing. The term “low information voter” is bandied about quite loosely by some to describe anyone who disagrees with the “more informed and educated” opinions of our media elite or political ruling classes. Instead of having an honest conversation about candidates, policy, or anything else of substance, we digress into the same “gutter” we accuse politicians of operating within with name-calling, vitriol, and baseless accusations.

As Americans, we want someone who will inspire us, who will ride in on a white horse and save our society. The problem with that is, if you look in Revelation 6, the first person to ride in on a white horse is the first horseman of the Apocalypse (the Antichrist). That doesn’t end so well for humanity. Am I saying our next president will be the Antichrist? Of course not. What I am  saying is that oftentimes the person doing and saying all of the right things is not all they are cracked up to be.

As Christians, we want someone with strong faith and a deep commitment to Christ. I know that personally, I would. However, as I discussed in a previous blog post, sometimes the person God has for the job is not a Samuel, a David, or a Solomon… sometimes it is a Cyrus or a Nebuchadnezzar. The person with the best Sunday School attendance record is not necessarily the best at fiscal decisions or international crisis management.

So how do we come to terms with the person vs. the candidate?

In Isaiah 1:16-18, we find the words of the LORD…

16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,

17 Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.

18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool…”

In verse 18, we see God beckoning His people to come and reason together. It seems to me that, in our current political climate, we would do well to do just that. We would be wise to set aside the preconceptions and media soundbites, and reason things out.

Every election brings empty promises from candidates. I cannot think of a president in my lifetime who did not make promises he either could not, would not, or had no intention of keeping. Whether he said it merely to get elected, or had the best of intentions and simply ran into too much opposition, promises were broken. Does it make it right that every candidate does it? No, not at all. It is simply a reality of the process; to hope for the best, but often settle for something in between “best” and “unacceptable”. Truth be told, all we ever have is a person’s word (unless they are running for a second term), because they have never been in that position doing that particular job with those particular pressures. We trust and have faith that our candidate will do what he says. Besides praying, that is all we can do.

Recently, I saw someone’s post on social media regarding Donald Trump (this is not an endorsement, merely an example). One person remarked on the thread that he was a liar and a cheat. In my mind I thought, “Ok, I’ll bite. Let’s assume that he IS the liar and cheat you say he is. Where are the charges? Where is the indictment? What is the name of the DA prosecuting him for fraud and conspiracy?” They don’t exist. People simply regurgitate what they hear, without doing their own research. A lot of people don’t like Mr. Trump for some things he has said… I get that. But making unfounded and vague accusations about a person often makes you no better than the person you are criticizing.

But God beckons us to come and reason together.

Recently, I was watching a man-on-the-street interview in which the interviewer would ask people about their candidate, but would attribute a quote or stance of one candidate to another, many times being the polar opposite view. It was amazing to me to see people get behind a position simply because they thought that was the view of their candidate, instead of what they personally believed.

In my “immigration proposal”, I was making a point that whether or not you agreed with me in theory, in some places in the world (in this case, Saudi Arabia), such laws are a reality, not just far-fetched fantasy. I know first-hand, from having been to Israel numerous times, the reality of having a customs agent offer to stamp a piece of paper so as not to put an Israeli stamp in my passport. The fact is, when it comes to many things such as immigration, gun-control, and other hot-button topics, before we try passing a bunch of new legislation, we would probably do well to enforce the laws already on the books. When we devolve into factions, and compare those we disagree with to Inquisitors, Crusaders, or Nazis (without a fundamental understanding of either), instead of talking and reasoning out our differences, we cease to be a part of the solution, and double down on being a part of the problem.

Some of my staff members recently went to a banquet, during which the keynote speaker was Pastor Rick Warren. One of my staff asked him the question, “How do you deal with all of the negative press and publicity you get sometimes in the press and social media?” Pastor Warren responded that, if we are following the example of Jesus, His first response was often silence. In Proverbs 15:1 we find this advice…

A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.

So I invite you, the next time you don’t see eye to eye with a person politically, don’t turn a bad situation worse. Let your soft answer defuse the situation, and open the dialogue to the invitation of our Lord…

Come, let us reason together.

You might actually find that you have not only retained a friend, but gained a brother or sister as well.

There Was A Time When…

red ryderEvery Christmas season, Americans have countless opportunities to view the holiday classic, A Christmas Story. Who can forget the adventures of Ralphie, his family and friends, and his trusty “official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle“. Many of Ralphie’s experiences ring true, for those of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s (and even the 70’s). The sights and sounds, the camaraderie of friends relegated to playing in the great outdoors… who would be best friends one day, fighting the next, and back to “buddydom” the very next day. Many of us can relate to having friends like Flick or Schwartz…

And many can relate to having a Scut Farkus in our lives as well.

In Ralphie’s life, Scut Farkus (and his “little toadie” Grover Dill) were the community bullies, bullying Ralphie and his friends until one day Ralphie had had enough, and in a moment of pure rage, turns the tables on the bullying Farkus. From that point on, Scut and Dill never pick on Ralphie or his friends again, proving the belief that, for most bullies, all they need to back down is for someone to stand up to them.

While I don’t condone senseless violence, watching that movie reminds me that there was a time when friends stood up for friends, when right and wrong were simple choices, and the world (much like the television of the 60’s) was black-and-white.

I remember that there was a time when…

  • A person’s first reaction to seeing another person in distress was the lend a helping hand. It is maddening these days to see videos posted online and on the news of an individual being taunted, bullied, picked on, or beaten down with no one coming to that person’s aid, but to look and see a dozen people standing by — all with cell phones — videotaping the altercation. Romans 14:7 reminds us that “none of us lives to himself“. In his classic, My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers wrote…

If you allow physical selfishness, mental carelessness, moral insensitivity, or spiritual weakness, everyone in contact with you will suffer.

And friend, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that our culture is suffering.

  • Freedom of speech, good or bad, was a basic right. Freedom of speech is a double-edged sword. The same right that allows a Christian to unashamedly share the love of Jesus also allows people to espouse some pretty offensive things — words of hate, negativity, profanity, etc. It is a simple right, guaranteed by our Constitution. Yet recently, the story came out that a university police department is encouraging students to turn people in for “hateful and/or hurtful speech”. One problem (of many) with such a rule is this: Who defines what constitutes “hateful or hurtful” speech? To a non-believer, the idea that they face an eternity in Hell, devoid of the presence of God might be considered “hurtful speech”. Sometimes the truth — regarding things of faith or not — hurts. The Bible says that, to someone who lives a life of spiritual disobedience, Jesus is considered “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (see 1 Peter 2:1-8). Does a person’s right — under any circumstances — to not having their feelings hurt trump another person’s right to free speech, guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution? Whether we like it or not, starting down that path is a slippery slope to totalitarianism.
  • Police officers were respected in our communities, and supported by our leaders. Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in violence against police as a result of misleading stories and irresponsible reporting in the media, and lack of support of leadership in government. When criminals are afforded the assumption of “innocent until proven guilty” but police are not, we are on a dangerous path to societal rebellion and anarchy. When police have to go into hiding simply because they either did their job or protected themselves (or both), we are in danger of becoming a completely lawless society. In Romans 13:2-3, Paul writes…

Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.

  • IMG_1905Men were men, women were women, and society knew the difference. The LGBT agenda has
    permeated every facet of our society. From local gyms where “transgender” individuals are allowed in opposite-sex dressing rooms (and those who object have their memberships revoked), to school systems where “transgender” students are (considered) being allowed into opposite-sex locker rooms… the lines of decency and propriety are rapidly disappearing…When a young girl is subjected to awkwardness and embarrassment in a locker room because a boy is in there who claims to “identify” as a female;

    When a national magazine selects a man who dresses up like a woman to be their “Woman of the Year”;

    When a group of black-robed justices defy the God-ordained institution of marriage —

    Such things bring to mind the warning of the prophet Isaiah…

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! ~ Isaiah 5:20

  • The world knew we were Christians by our love. While it is vitally important to stand for what is right, we as Christians have become known more for what we are against than what we are for. Oftentimes, instead of focusing on the Great Commission, we brow-beat a secular world over things that amount to no more than a diversion they don’t understand. We are inconsistent in our priorities, which sends a confusing signal to a culture watching us through a “microscope lens”. Consistency in the message of Christ matters, otherwise we seem disingenuous at best. For instance, IF I am going to boycott a secular organization, it should probably be less over the color of their “holiday” cups and more over their support of abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.

CoffeeWith all of the mayhem that is going on in the world, we are seeing an unprecedented assault on Christians in our lifetime. Things may never return to “the good old days”, but there is definitely room and opportunity for improvement. Regardless of how we are accepted in today’s society, one thing is certain: We won’t change the minds of people in our culture until God changes their hearts, and what God will use to change their hearts is a Body of Christ that operates in righteousness, walks in unity, and talks in truth and love.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. ~ 1 Peter 3:15

Love is the language that all people understand, because love is the language of God. He IS love, and as creatures created in His image, love is our native language. For some, it may be deep and buried, but it is there…

And it is our responsibility and opportunity to try to find it.

Leviathan and the Land of Confusion

Leviathan 1In 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”.

Well, here we are now in 2015, and the recent and current events and threats we are experiencing now makes 1986 look like some sort of Utopia. So why are we living in a land of such confusion? Why can our leaders not recognize the immediate threat of Islam and Islamic groups like ISIS? Why does our government fight so hard for the rights of Islamic groups, while trampling the rights of Christians into the dust? Why do we embrace our enemies, while we ridicule and shun our allies? 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 2015, 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. Our freedom to peacefully disagree with this unGodly “alternative lifestyle” is 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.
  • 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 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. As we watch the Middle East and Africa go up in flames, 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!

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 more, 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!