Thank You for the NO.

“God must often seem to us to be playing fast and loose with us.  The adult must seem to mislead the child, and the Master the dog.  They misread the signs.  Their ignorance and wishes twist everything.”  (C.S. Lewis)

I am such a small creature with such limited understanding.  One of eight billion – 8,000,000,000!  And some demographers estimate we are half of the total population that has ever lived since Adam and Eve, 16,000,000,000 in all.

News reporters should not be allowed to use words to describe such large numbers.  Does it not seem easier to accept that our national debt is $31.12 trillion than to read our national debt is $31,120,000.000,000.00!?  And it is growing by over $2,000,000,000,000.00, two trillion, per year or $5,480,000,000.00 per day!  When you see $5.48 billion it just seems to not bother us so much as seeing the numbers stretching across the page.

However, I am writing about people today, not money.  Eight BILLION is still a lot of people.  Think of the crowds in which you have been numbered.  You may have been one of 50 or 100 at a church or social club.  If your church is a mega-one, maybe you were one of 5,000.  You could recognize your children across the large auditorium and even see them wave to you.

Then you went to a concert with 25,000 attendees, and suddenly you could not find anyone you knew beyond those within earshot, maybe 20 feet (3.5 metres) away.  A large crowd gathered in Washington, D.C. for a special occasion and the news outlets estimated your “group” was over 500,000 or maybe a million (1,000,000).  All you could see was a “sea of faces” bobbing up and down, looking literally more like a lake than a mass of human beings. 

So eight billion (8,000,000,000) are LOTs of faces!!  And each one has his or her story; each one is troubled by a relationship or blessed by a colleague or family member; each one has had physical and emotional pains, and each has had offers of peace if he or she would take them.  Each ONE.

Thus, when we ask God for a parking space and one suddenly opens up, do we accurately conclude the Creator of the Horsehead Nebula actually paid attention to our desire for a few minutes’ convenience?  Or could it have been coincidence?  Does the One who designed your DNA and spangled the universe with galaxies really care if your bird or lizard or dog dies?  Would He not have more important things which require His attention?

When the apostle John encountered The Son of Man in Revelation 1, he was so overwhelmed by this Person that he totally blacked out and had to be revived.  This revelation of Jesus continues through chapters 4, 5, 7, 13 and 19 to 21 and HE is amazing!  He is beyond our full comprehension!  The difference between us and an insect seems less than the difference between us and HIM!!  He is more than our small minds can digest, and then we wonder why He sometimes does not jump when we say, “Do what I tell you to do.”

Yet, Jesus, Himself said that Father numbers the hairs of our heads!  Such a mind with such vast power and yet such perception of the details!!  So when we do not get the “answer” we demand from this Creator, we should not be dismayed, and conclude, “See, God does not exist because He did not do what I want.”

He knows; He understands; He cares more than we can grasp and loves you and me, us two out of 8,000,000,000 (or 16,000,000,000 depending on who you are counting).  He knows and loves YOU more than you can imagine.  So trust Him.  Though he seems to be playing fast and loose with us, simply trust Him, believe in Him and receive His gift of eternal life.  Then, someday, we will know fully even as we have been fully known.  And thank Him for all things, even when He says, “No.”

CBDC – Faster Than You May Expect

Recently this blog warned of persecution coming via Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).  This will make the Respect for Marriage Act look like protection of religious liberties. . . which it is NOT!  In a previous blog I noted how President Biden authorized any and all government agencies with a vested interest in a CBDC to explore the actions required to launch a United States CBDC if doing so is deemed to be in the national interest.”

When did a government ever invent a program that it then dumped?  Just search for “obsolete federal programs still on the books” in a search engine and watch the boondoggles your computer will find!

So now, just eight months after executive order 14607 was signed, the NY Federal Reserve is rolling out a test of these actions.  “The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and major banks will launch a three-month test of a digital dollar in hopes of studying its feasibility.”  (The Washington Examiner)

“Citigroup, HSBC Holdings, Mastercard, Wells Fargo, [BNY Mellon, PNC Bank, TD Bank, Truist, and U.S. Bank] are the [nine] financial companies participating in the experiment alongside the New York Fed’s Innovation Center, they said in a statement. The project, which is called the regulated liability network, will be conducted in a test environment and use simulated data, the New York Fed said.”  (Reuters)

The U.S. dollar will be represented as tokens and transactions will be settled through simulated central bank reserves on a shared multi-entity distributed ledger.  This pilot will be conducted in a test environment and the participating parties have stressed that this experiment is not intended to advance any specific policy outcome or hint that the Fed is planning to make any big decisions about a central bank digital currency in the near future.  😉 Wink, wink, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” 😨 (Ronald Reagan)

As noted, the US is behind the curve of other countries, so much so that there is discussion about whether the dollar is becoming less important in international transactions.  If we fall behind advancing nations like China, India and …Jamaica (??😳) the dollar will lose its slot as the world’s reserve currency!  The rise of the Euro and China’s Yuan increasing presence in the global economy all feed into this idea.

China has tested its digital yuan in several provinces, and the currency is even available to users on the popular app WeChat.  It recently added four provinces to its list of regions for the CBDC trial.  Nigeria also launched a digital currency, the eNaira.  The governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank said it was responsible for more than $9,000,000 (in USD millions) in transactions in the past month.  Earlier this month, France, Switzerland, and Singapore jointly conducted a trial for their digital currencies, one of the first of its kind.  These cross-border trials are also an important agenda item in CBDC development as one of CBDC’s promises is to expedite international trade between financial agencies.

A news release referred to the experiment as a “proof-of-concept project” in which the largest banks in America will work with the Fed’s New York Innovation Center to simulate digital money representing the deposits of their own customers and settle them through simulated Fed reserves on a distributed ledger.

Of course, this is all for our own good: Safety, Security, Convenience!  Those are the three catch words that will be used to draw us in.  If you know you are not a bad person, but you enjoy convenience, it will be tempting to say to yourself, “I have nothing to hide.”  Are you living a “sustainable lifestyle” and helping to fight alleged climate change?  Do you support government views on race, abortion, marriage and even democracy?  Are you a team player?  If not, your participation in society may be affected.  Although financial institutions claim a digital dollar boosts speed and convenience, the real motives are surveillance and control.

This is exactly how the recent vaccines were rolled out, through coercive policies enforced, not just by governments but by their corporate partners.  John Kerry, at the COP27 conference in Egypt said that this is the model that can be used to enforce compliance with the sustainability agenda being pushed by the United Nations and its myriad partners in the private sector, headed by the World Economic Forum.

Once digital programable money is in place, you may not get to spend your money on certain things and may be limited to certain areas of commerce.  A digital ID will be required for everything!  Eventually, you will not be able to access any government or public services without that digital ID; you will not be able travel across national borders nor access healthcare nor the internet.  You will be required to prove your identity through a digital program containing your unique biometric markers, a thumb print or a facial scan.  Cellphones are already prodding us for this information.  Many new driver’s licenses require biometric markers.  Your face will be linked to a new digital CBDC account.  Without it, you will be locked out of the system – no job, no healthcare, no social security check, no buying or selling . . . nothing.

The World Economic Forum wants to achieve this by 2030.  After digital money backed by government is in place, cash can be all together eliminated.  In June 2020, many world leaders gathered to announce the launch of a plan to “reset” the entire global economy, a proposal ominously named the “Great Reset.”  Among the elites from around the world and powerful institutions that pledged their support for the Great Reset were the International Monetary Fund, the secretary-general of the United Nations, Prince Charles and CEOs from major international corporations.  A frequent mantra of The Great Reset is “equality of outcomes,” a concept foreign to democratic “equality of opportunities.”

“Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. …In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, wrote.

New York Fed Announces Phase I Results of the New York Innovation Center’s Project Cedar – FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of NEW YORK

“The U.S. Federal Reserve has tightened the window for the launch of its FEDNOW instant payments platform to between May and July of 2023.  According to a press release, FedNow will be open to financial institutions of any size, allowing them to facilitate instant payments for consumers and businesses, giving customers immediate full access to funds. The platform is currently in pilot phase with more than 120 organizations participating, including lender U.S. Bank and payment processor Alacriti Payments among them.”  (Forbes)

Some people herald crypto-currency as the money of the future.  Its blockchain accounting system made it attractive to investors who valued privacy and speed of transaction.  Libertarians liked its independence from government or banks and saw it as a parallel system that would eventually replace modern monies.  But the joke’s on those who thought the privacy and independence from government were its salient features.  It will soon be Big Brother, more pervasive and intrusive than George Orwell ever imagined.

Once CBDC becomes the medium of exchange in our nation, China and others, it will be a short hop to a global cabal who will control our finances; one more step toward a global government.  All it will take will be a cataclysmic event more astounding than the recent pandemic, and One Man will come along with the rest of the solutions.  As Jesus warned His followers, do not “get ready.”  Rather, BE READY!  Christ-followers have nothing to fear, For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” (Matthew 24:27-18)

I’ve been here before: fasting.

Fasting is an intriguing spiritual discipline that I readily admit I do not fully understand.  Thus, though I started to regularly fast several years ago, somewhere along the line I got sidetracked.  We know that God does not “bargain,” as though we could approach Him and say, “Okay, I fasted ‘X’ number of times this month; therefore, You have to do ‘Y’ that I have asked for in prayer.”  We remember that HE is God, we are not, and that He is never under obligation to His creatures.

Fasting does not particularly make us aware of spiritual realities more than if we simply pray with focused attention on Heavenly priorities.  For me, prayer while fasting has never been an occasion of visions or angelic appearances, at least in my very limited experience.  It just makes my stomach growl a little louder than usual, especially after drinking a little water.

Now, I must admit that fasting is not difficult for me.  My body is unusual in this regard, and I hope on an autopsy someday, some researcher will look at my gut receptors and try to find some that would signal appetite, because I have never felt hungry.  Even after going three days without eating (for whatever reason), if someone offered food, it was more a matter of “Oh, yeah, I guess I should probably eat something” than “OHHhh, I crave food sooo much.”  If fasting is supposed to alert us to denying ravenous desires to promote spiritual ones, maybe that is why I have been lax with developing this as a regular discipline.

However, Jesus specifically expected His disciples to fast after He left the earth.  “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.” (Mark 2:20)  I have addressed fasting before, so will not repeat all of that blog, but to say it is appropriate for a Christ-follower to fast at times.  Specifically, Jesus mentioned fasting in Matthew 6 with a couple of prescriptions: go about normal business, don’t show off, focus on Heavenly things (Matthew 6:16-21).  Like giving and praying, fasting was to be a normal part of a Christ-follower’s life.

Fasting should not be merely a time of dieting or controlling one’s intake for weight control (although that is one obvious side-benefit for us gluttonous Americans).  It should also involve devoted time to prayer, utilizing time usually spent in meal prep or eating to a new routine of praying.  And prayers should be more than merely, “Oh, Lord, teach me to pray.”  We should know how to pray longer prayers than just “Our Father…” or announcing our “grocery lists.”  (See A Catalog of Prayer here.)  Be careful not to get caught in vain repetition.”

Fasting also can involve immersing yourself in the Bible.  In our busy lives, most of us spend every moment in moving from one task to another with very little time in Scripture meditation.  Unlike Eastern meditative techniques that call us to “empty our minds,” Christian meditation is intended to fill our minds with what the Bible teaches, often focusing on Scriptures that we have not yet applied to our lives.  This can overlap with prayer that is simply waiting on the Lord.  “Remember that for the Christian, waiting is not about what you get at the end of the wait, but more importantly about what you become as you wait.” (Paul Tripp, The Gains of Giving Up)

The result of fasting should be to draw us closer to The God Who Is and to His word, and by that to reveal to us what kind of people we should be, where we are not measuring up yet, revealing hidden sin and opening our minds to new commitments that we should make.

There is a danger in any of the spiritual disciplines.  Whenever we focus on what we do rather than on what Father is doing, there is always a risk of marking off a checklist, “There I fasted this week, so I am spiritual.”  This was the major problem with most of the Jerusalem Pharisees in Jesus’ day: they thought that detailed observance of regulations was the way to serve God.  With fasting, there is an additional danger if one is not prepared physically for it.  It is not glorifying to Father when we put our health at risk or damage our “temples.”  Look up Daniel fasts if your body or doctor tells you that you should not do an absolute food fast.  I do not recommend absolute fasting that includes water avoidance.

So I have blogged on this before, but I have never developed the habit to do a “regular” fast, which is what this blog is inviting me to begin.  You probably will not read here about any benefits I experience per Matthew 6:18, but enjoy exploring fasting on your own.  Be thankful to a God who supplies our daily bread and then some!  And let a growling tummy remind you of His blessings and how His steadfast love is new every morning.

,

Why are you cast down, O my soul?

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, [YHWH].
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
. . .
My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember You
from the [coasts of California to Acadia National Park, from Seattle to Palm Beach].
Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your waves have gone over me.
By day [YHWH] commands His steadfast love,
and at night His song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
. . .
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in [YHWH]; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Psalm 42 [with some personalization]

‘Watch’ with Me one hour? What can you pray about for ONE HOUR!?

2022-08-20 Watch With Me One Hour“So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  (Matthew 26:40)

Having heard of people who spend lots of time in prayer, I used to wonder about what do they pray?  I could list my family and closest friends in a prayer in about 10 minutes unless something bad had happened to one of them, and then it might stretch out to 15.  So Jesus’ question to His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane always left me wondering, if your prayer is simply, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will,” . . . I mean, saying the line only takes a few seconds; how often would He have to repeat that to pray for one hour?

However, as I grew in my understanding I realized this “line” was just a summary, like a book report of War and Peace: A novel covering 1805-1820 that tells the story of five Russian families and their marriages, participation in military campaigns fighting Napoleon (suspected of being the anti-Christ), and how they triumph with devotion for each other.  There, now you don’t need to read 1,225 pages! 😁

In the same way, Jesus’ conversation with His Father involved much more than the “book report” version Matthew presents.  But how does one pray for an hour if a crucifixion is not on the venue for the next morning?

Let me make a few suggestions to help you get started. 
The first thing is to recognize that prayer is a conversation . . . two-way communication, not just us presenting grocery lists for a celestial errand boy to run!  Perhaps the most difficult thing about prayer is learning to listen and not just filling the room with our own voices.  “Remind me Lord, that not everything needs to be said, and that there are very few things that need to be said by me.” (Elisabeth Elliot)   We can use Mrs. Elliot’s prayer here to point out that even in prayer, our words do not need to be all that fills the time.  Recall that Jesus would often leave His disciples and spend long hours, even entire nights, in prayer.

Then there are catalogs of prayer (one of which is linked here).  This is vital that we realize that even our words in prayers need to be more than just, “Dear God, take care of so-and-so and do this for you-know-who.” Certainly requests and intercession may occupy a lot of time in prayer, but it is often valuable to begin with other forms of prayer, particularly praise and thanxgiving.  It is still true that He “inhabits the praises of” His people (Psalm 22:3, KJV) and to draw near to Him is to begin to experience a Presence that is more astounding than standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon.  This can be precursory to learning to “Pray without ceasing.”  

My “catalog” is not comprehensive and there are many others available either in print or online, and many prayerers’ prayers can lead you into a life of prayer if you make time to read some of theirs.  One could even start with prayers within the Bible.  Note how many of Psalms’ prayers are a mixture of praise and requests.

I began a series on January 18, 2015 with the instruction, A Man (or Woman) of God will live a life Marked By Prayer.”  This is as true now as it was in the days of Seth and Enoch in Genesis 4 and as it was in King David’s day, on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, in Martin Luther’s time and in Billy Graham’s crusades.  John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress said, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.

I concluded a blog from September 20, 2015 with this caveat: I still feel like a beginner in learning to pray, and my pattern for intercessory prayer may not work for others, but think about how much time you spend in prayer.  While prayer cannot be measured in terms of volume or quantity, if we do not pray, it is pretty safe to say it is worthless. And while you are learning to pray, please, please, please, pray for me. I really need it!”

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Europe Is Burning – Only A Portent of What Is To Come – (almost) Wordless Wednesday

Pray for Europe!  Wildfires in Europe’s forests and grasslands as of July 19, 2022!

2022-07-20 Europe is Burning

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” (2 Peter 3:9-10)

How to Pray When Someone is EVIL!

I have often wondered how our worship songs always reflect on the mercy, the glory or the forgiveness of Father for our sins, and neglect the “imprecatory psalms” that call for justice or destruction of those who refuse His grace. (To imprecate is to invoke or call down curses, as upon a person”.)  A recent article in Christianity Today sheds some light on this idea, and I seriously doubt we will see many songs like “I Will Sing Unto the Lord” coming along again, “the horse and rider thrown into the sea,” sometimes cheerfully sung by children.

No one seems to be writing Psalm 109 hymns for the worship team:
8May his days be few; may another take his office!
May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow!
10 May his children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!
11 May the creditor seize all that he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!
12 Let there be none to extend kindness to him, nor any to pity his fatherless children!

And perhaps this is okay, in that there are times we tend to excuse our own inclinations to vengeance, when it is God who is the Judge, not us.  In these times of polarization where even families cannot gather because of differing views on everything from masks, vaccines, border control and anything political, it may be more vital than ever that we focus our worship times on God’s mercy for the undeserving… like me.  Remember “Standing in the Need of Prayer?” 😉

2022-07-16 The Woman Caught in AdulteryIn line with this, often our reluctance to condemn the guilty is lodged in our own guilt because we do know we are not without sin.  Like the accusers in John 8 who wanted to condemn a woman “caught in the act of adultery” (so where was the man who was also committing sin???), none of us wants to cast the first stone, knowing that we have been just as bad.  But it leaves a sour taste in our mouths when someone does something so heinous that we would never do (or at least we think we would never do).

Then we feel justified in condemning the sinner, and therein lies the deceit of our enemy.  OUR tendency is to condemn the person, more than the action.  And that is the reason Father tells us to leave vengeance up to Him!  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:19-21)

But what we do in reaction to a person’s sin can be quite apart from how we pray for a person caught in sin!  Leaving the actual judgement up to Father does not mean to ignore the sin, and we may even be called to justify or condemn an action based on the Law, not on our personal guilt or absolution.  Jury duty, anyone?  If we absolve a criminal driving offense because we have been guilty of the same, we abuse the law intended to protect us and others from criminal effects.

However, this is very different from personally attacking the person who has violated the law.  Rather, it is allowing the law to proceed as it was intended.  And it should serve as a warning to us to not abuse that law… again.

And this is very different from participating in national or tribal action against one acting criminally as in warfare, but that is a subject for another blog someday.

Anyway, I thought you might do some introspection on the theme of this article from CT, Go Ahead. Pray for Putin’s Demise.”  It is less “imprecatory” than the title suggests. Good reading in the magazine when you subscribe.
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2022/march-web-only/prayer-ukraine-russia-putin-imprecatory-psalms.html
And check out these acapella Amish boys reminding us how holy Father is!

Guest Blog: Dr. David Gibbs: Listen to the Voice. A Modern Parable.

Told as a real story, this is a modern parable:

I was in Alaska doing a lawsuit.  We were way out in the Aleutian Islands, getting ready to leave and go back to Anchorage and then home.  And I had a ticket in my pocket to get on an airplane.
A pastor came up and he said, “Listen, I can save you money.”
I said, “How’s that?”
He said, “I flew a small airplane up here and I fly a small airplane, and I can take you in my little airplane, and you can save your ticket.”
And this did not sound – I said, “Gee, thank you so very, very much, but I’ve got this ticket.  We’ll just make our way on home, me and this other lawyer with me.”
He said, “No, no, no.  You gotta do it, you gotta do it.”
And against every better judgement I had, I said, “Okay.”
Well, we went out to the airport.  He took us by this little plane and I looked at it, and I thought, “Well, one good thing, it’s shiny.”

Then he walked around it.  We got in.  He’s on the left front; I’m on the right front; the other lawyer is sitting right behind me, and he started it up.  And it started up just fine.  Well, we taxied out and I said, “Should we pray?”
He said, “Yeah, that’s a good idea.  We normally don’t ”
I said, “Well, this time we’re gonna.”  And I’m telling you I prayed five, eight minutes.  I prayed a long time.  We went and got on the runway.  He starts down the runway.  The plane lifted off ever so gently, and we started climbing, and it’s wonderful; not a problem in the world.  We started climbing and we flew probably three, four minutes, and something happened that will never leave my mind!

The pilot turned to me and he said, “We’re going in the clouds, and I can’t fly in clouds!  They make me pass out.”  I said, “Clouds make you do WHAT!?”  Now, it’s been cloudy all day!  And we go right up into the clouds and you can’t see anything.  And he looks at me, and his eyes roll back in his head, and he starts mumbling and he passes out!  Passed out cold!! 
Now I grabbed him and shook him and I said, “Come on, you got to wake up!… so I can kill you!”
Now we’re in the clouds flying along with no pilot, and my friend in the back seat said, “We’re dead, aren’t we?”
I said, “There’s a very good chance of that, yes.”
He said, “What are we gonna do?”
I said, “I don’t know.”  But there was a radio right there, and I handed him the microphone and I said, “Start asking for help!”

2022-07-09 Into the Clouds

So he’s in the back seat reaching up and he said, “Hello, hello?”  We didn’t know any proper radio etiquette.  All we were saying was, “Hello?”
And somebody answered back, “ ‘Hello, hello?’  Don’t you guys know proper radio etiquette?”
I said, “Give it to me!”  I said, “Tell — We don’t know nothin’!  Tell them, we’re in an airplane with a passed out pilot, and we don’t know how to fly this plane!”
The guy said, “I’m a freighter flying out of Anchorage on the way to Tokyo.”  And he said, “You’re telling me you have nobody who can fly that plane with you!?”
I said, “Tell him, that’s correct.”
Now you gotta understand I was sweating bullets!  He said, “First thing I’m gonna do is start circling so I don’t lose you, because I’ll fly out of range of your radio, and you won’t have me anymore.”  And he said, “I’m gonna get Anchorage Emergency for you, and Anchorage Emergency will be the people that can maybe help you; try to save your lives.”

After about five minutes Anchorage came on and said, “We understand you have a passed out pilot and those of you do not know how to fly that plane.”
And we said, “That’s right.”
They said, “Well, the first thing we gotta do is find you.”
I’ll never forget what this man at Anchorage said.  He said, “My job is to get you home safe.”  He said, “That’s my job.  But,“ he said, “here’s the deal.  If you want me to get you home safe, you gotta promise me you’ll obey my voice.”  He said, “You can’t see me, but I can see you.”  And he said, “If you’re not going to obey my voice, you’re gonna die.”
When you can’t see anything, you have no idea how disoriented you become.
Finally, he said, “Okay, I found you.  Now hear me clear.”  He said, “You’re four minutes from a mountain.”  He said, “You’re gonna crash in that mountain and die.  Follow my voice.”
I never said, “I have to follow your voice?  Is that reasonable?”  You see, I understood without his voice, I had nothing!  And do you understand without God’s voice, you have nothingNOTHING!? 

Finally, he got us turned and he said, “I’m freezing all the traffic in the area.”  He said, “It’s going to take me an hour and a half to get you to Anchorage, and there’s a lot of weather between you and Anchorage.  You’re in for a rough ride.”  And he said, “I want you to hear me.  I don’t want you to look at what’s going on outside.  I don’t want you to pay attention to the storm.  Just MY Voice!”  He said, “If you start watching the storm, you will die!  But I’ll take you through it.”
Now, because they cleared all the traffic, several pilots, those nighttime freighters, those 747s, started talking to us.  They said, “We’re praying or you men.  You’re gonna make it!  But listen to the Voice!  That’s the key.”  They said, “Trust the VOICE.”
Do you realize your head is full of voices?  And everybody in this world wants to talk to you.  And everybody wants to be the controlling voice.  And God says, ”I want you to be a living sacrifice.  I want you to put yourself on the altar and let My VOICE be [the voice you listen to].
Finally we went through the worst of the weather, but there was still more.  And then the Voice came back, and he said, “Now, I’m gonna line you up.”  He said, “I’m gonna bring you in right down the runway, and at the foot of the runway are some lights, and they’re in the form of a cross.”  He said, “Don’t you forget this, The Cross Is The Way Home!”
Finally, he’s bringing us down.  We still can’t see anything, and all he kept saying is, “Stay with me.”

“My sheep,” the Bible says, “hear My VOICE and they follow Me.”

2022-07-09 The Cross Is The Way Home
Finally, just a couple hundred feet off the ground, we saw the cross.  I landed the plane.  In fact, I landed it seven times!  Finally, it all came to a stop, and the minute we stopped the pilot woke up.
The voice said, “Thanx for listening.  I watch them crash and burn all the time because they won’t follow my Voice.  They don’t understand I’m the one who can see them even though they can’t see me.  But they get the voices in their head and they kill themselves.  They self-destruct.  Thanx for listening to the Voice.”

Then they put us in a motel room, and about four in the morning, Knock, knock, knock, knock.  A knock at my door, and I opened the door and a man was standing there.  He said, ”Hello, David.”
I said, You’re the Voice!  You’re the one who got me home!”
He said, “I am.”
Do you understand one day you’re going to stand before Him and say, “YOU were the VOICE!  You’re the VOICE that brought…me…Home!”
If you’re not on that altar as a living sacrifice, your head’s full of voices.  And then we wonder why kids crash and burn?  We wonder why marriages are shattered?
And the Lord is saying, “ I AM the One who [is] the VOICE.”

All I can remember is that Voice saying, “Stay with me… Stay with me… Don’t listen to what’s going on in your head and don’t watch the storm.  Stay…with…Me, and I’ll take you through.”
Tonight you have a God who has promised to take you through.  A living sacrifice.  Holy.

My closing thought: Consider what you are listening for; what noises crowd out the Voice that you need to hear?  https://capost2k.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/what-are-you-listening-for/

Who Will Take My Place? – The John Chau Story

June 29 is the Day of the Christian Martyr.  More than 4000 Christ-followers are killed every year (11 every day), not because they cause trouble, but simply because they claim Jesus as their Lord.  We who live in luxury and comfort need to be aware that the freedom we now have to share the gospel could disappear overnight.  Are we ready? … But that is a question for another blog.
John Chau was part of my blog on December 03, 2018.  Here is the “the rest of the story” as told by the editors of The Voice of the Martyrs.  For the sake of my shorter blogs, this is an abbreviated account.  The full original article is available HERE.  And well worth reading!

Who Will Take My Place? – The John Chau Story

2022-06-18 John Chau Title Pic

A LIFE OF PREPARATION
John spent almost a decade preparing to take the gospel to the Sentinelese, one of the last uncontacted people groups. His journey began in 2008, the year he turned 17, when he became what he described as “an apprentice to Jesus.”

2022-06-18 North Sentinel MapAfter taking his first missions trip the following year, he began to pray about spending his life serving as a missionary. “I know that God used that time to mark my life,” he later said. In his prayers, John asked God where He wanted him to go, echoing Isaiah’s affirmation – “Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

Soon after making that prayerful commitment, John found information online about the Sentinelese people, who live on an isolated island and have never heard the gospel. He sensed that God was calling him to go to North Sentinel Island to share God’s love with them.

“Once I said yes to Jesus,” he said in a video for a church that sponsored his work, “I was committed. I was all in.”

Every decision John made for the next nine years was in preparation for going to North Sentinel Island, living among the Sentinelese and sharing the gospel with them. “He had conditioned his body, his mind, his spirit,” said a former representative from the student missions office at Oral Roberts University (ORU), the school John attended in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “He was one of the most prepared men I’ve ever met.”

Since little is known about the Sentinelese language, he took a linguistics course through a branch of Wycliffe Bible Translators hoping it would help him communicate with the islanders. In addition, he undertook medical training and became certified as a wilderness EMT (emergency medical technician) so he could provide the Sentinelese with basic health care, knowing their immune systems would be vulnerable to imported Western viruses, and he underwent laser eye surgery so he wouldn’t have to worry about keeping his contacts clean.

2022-06-18 North Sentinel PictureJohn was so focused on preparing to serve on the island – an arial view of North Sentinel hung on his dorm-room wall – that he needed a reminder to keep serving in the here and now. An outreach leader at ORU challenged John not to wait, but to start immediately serving and reaching out in the name of Jesus. And John took the challenge to heart.

Because of his love for soccer, John became involved with a ministry that ran a soccer program for immigrants from Myanmar. He was not the most high-profile leader, standing in the spotlight or preaching a sermon, but his love for people and his bedrock faith began to shine through.  “Coach Chau” became a friend, mentor and coach, taking every opportunity to point young men to Christ.

When John reached out to the ministry, All Nations, which had overseen one of his college mission trips, a member of the executive leadership, Pam Arland, took notice that John’s email was the second mention of the Sentinelese people she had seen in a week. And prior to that, she had never even heard of them. Was God at work to reach this unreached island, she wondered.

Pam invited a coworker to sit in on a call with John and help determine whether he was the right person for such a dangerous mission trip.  “John is actually one of the most well prepared and intentional missionaries I have ever met,” said Mary Ho, executive leader of All Nations in a VOM radio interview (VOMRadio.net/JohnChau). “He would call us and say, ‘How do I prepare myself to know more about cultural anthropology?’ We would say, ‘OK, here are 10 [or] 20 books on the subject.’ He would say, ‘Oh, I have read half of them.’ Literally two weeks later he would be like, ‘I have finished reading them. What’s next?’”

A SOLO MISSION
In 2015, John took the first of four scouting trips to the Andaman Islands, a union territory of India located so far east in the Bay of Bengal that it’s much closer to Bangkok than Bangalore.  As he flew out of Port Blair, capital of the Andaman and the Nicobar Islands, John gazed out at the blue ocean below and saw an island come into view that he recognized immediately: It was the same island he had stared at on his dorm-room wall all through college.

“A sense of clarity and peace came upon me,” John said later, “A sense of knowing that I’m going to be going there one day. I took that as confirmation. I’ve only had that sense of clarity and deep sense of knowing a few other times in my life, and each time I can say it was definitely God that was speaking to me.”

John had a natural inclination toward planning, and it was now in full flower. He planned what to take with him, sorting and re-sorting his gear, then deciding how much would fit in the cases he planned to cache on the island before he met the islanders. He wrote plans for the first day, for his early goals and even a contingency plan in case things didn’t go well.

Plan A was to make contact with the islanders and live among them for as long as it took to learn the language and culture. Then he would tell them about the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. John knew it would take years and maybe decades. His meticulous planning also included a Plan B, the possibility that tribes would not welcome him and might even kill him, just as they had two fishermen who drifted ashore on North Sentinel in 2006.

John was at peace either way. He had committed his life to seeing the Sentinelese people worship Jesus Christ as their Savior. Either he would live on the island as a guest and a light for Christ, or he would give his life on the island and enter eternity. Like Paul, he knew that “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

“ADVENTURE BRO”
In case the world did hear John’s name, he had done his best to protect Christian friends in the islands and make sure any publicity would not hinder further efforts to reach the Sentinelese with the gospel. His Instagram feed is filled with adventure images from far off places. He blogged about traveling the world, climbing, kayaking and diving with great white sharks. If John’s name became known, anyone searching the images and blogspots would simply think he was an “adventure bro” who stepped too far off the beaten path and paid with his life.

After John’s death, a friend posted some thoughts that John had shared before the trip. “Death is inevitable,” John had said. “I can die in a car crash, [from] snakebite, [from] cancers. There are many ways we can die. I’m going to the islands this November and I don’t know what is going to happen, but I’m ready. I’m ready to lay my down life down for the gospel.”

In August 2018, the Indian government removed the requirement – in place since 1963 – that foreigners visiting 29 of the Andaman and Nicobar islands first apply for and receive a Restricted Area Permit. Media reports listed islands that no longer required a permit to visit – including North Sentinel Island. The change was designed to promote tourism, but also eliminated one obstacle to John’s mission.

FINAL PREP AND FIRST CONTACT
As the time approached for John’s trip to the island, Mary Ho received a four word e-mail from another member of the All Nations executive team: “Mary, are you sure?” Her response was equally to the point, from Romans 10:14: “How are they to hear without someone preaching?”

On the afternoon of November 14, before boarding a fishing boat and heading toward the island, John wrote this prayer in his journal: “Thank you, Father, for using me, for shaping me and molding me to be your ambassador. … Holy Spirit, please open the hearts of the tribe to receive me and by receiving me, to receive You. May Your kingdom, Your rule and reign come now to North Sentinel Island. My life is in Your hands, O father, so into Your hands I commit my spirit.”

The next morning he kayaked along the shore, hoping to show his good intentions by delivering fish and other gifts to the Islanders. “My name is John,” he called out. “I love you and Jesus loves you.”

2022-06-18 John at the Island

The first islanders to appear carried their bows with unstrung arrows. Later, when they strung arrows in their bows, John paddled out of range and back to the boat. He approached again that afternoon, delivering more gifts and getting close to an islander before a young Sentinelese launched an arrow that lodged firmly in the waterproof Bible he was carrying.

The tip of the arrow stopped on a page that ended with the first two verses of Isaiah 65: “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am’ to a nation that was not called by My name. I spread out My hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices.”

On that second contact attempt, John got out of the kayak, hoping to appear less threatening. But when the islanders, one with a bamboo knife, got between him and the kayak, he had to leave it behind – with his US passport inside – and swam back to the boat. After that eventful day, he poured out his heart in the pages of his journal, which the fishermen later delivered to Christian friends.

2022-06-18 Journal Entry 1

Later that evening, John added another entry.

2022-06-18 Journal Entry 2

According to his notes, John planned for the fishermen to drop him ashore the next morning. John hoped he would seem less threatening without the boat waiting offshore. And he also hoped to protect the fisherman: “If it goes badly on foot, the fisherman won’t have to bear witness to my death,” he wrote. John closed most of his journal entries as well as letters to friends and family with the Latin phrase Solo Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone).

ON THE BEACH
On November 16, 2018, John went ashore on North Sentinel Island for the last time. When the fisherman returned the next day, according to the police report, they saw “a dead person being buried at the shore which from the silhouette of the body, clothing and circumstances appear to be the body of John Allen Chau.”

Following his death, a storm of vitriol was unleashed on John, his family, All Nations and, at times, anyone who would dare to think of sharing the gospel with another human being. The fisherman who took John to the island were arrested, as were other Christians who had spoken with John in the Andaman islands. Their trial began in November 2021.

The story of John the adventure bro quickly turned to John the misguided missionary, the colonizer, the thoughtless disease spreader. The mocking memes on social media and criticism in a variety of media came in waves. Some comedians even used the story of John’s murder in their acts.

More concerning was the criticism from Christians who attacked John’s [mis]perceived lack of preparation and insensitivity to the culture. Some even questioned whether the Great Commission might be outdated in 2018; perhaps they posed, it does not apply to tribes that have no contact with the outside world.

NOT THE END OF THE STORY
“I believe the measure of success in the Kingdom of God is obedience,” John said a few months before his death. “I want my life to reflect obedience to Christ and to live in obedience to him. I think that Jesus is worth it. He’s worth everything.”

John followed in the footsteps of faithful Christians throughout history, beginning with the martyrdom of all but one of the original 12 apostles. In the 1800s, only one in four missionaries survived his first term in the Congo (see From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya by Ruth Tucker). In 1866, Robert Thomas died on a riverbank outside Pyongyang while trying to take the gospel to Korea. Five men were speared to death in 1956 while trying to share the love of Christ with the “Auca” (now called the Huaorani) tribesmen. A willingness to “die trying” has always been a requirement for taking the gospel to places it’s never been heard.

The end of John’s life on earth should not be viewed as the end of the whole story; we know how that story ends. In one of John’s last journal entries, he wrote “The eternal lives of this tribe are at hand. And I can’t wait to see them around the throne of God worshiping in their own language as Revelation 7:9–10 states. Every tribe, every people, every language, worshiping King Jesus together.” John longed for the day when he would introduce his Sentinelese brothers and sisters to other members of the body of Christ.

Perhaps in eternity, we will see John standing among the Sentinelese gathered around the throne, crying out in a loud voice with them, “Salvation belongs to our God!” Those who knew John well on earth will expect a toothy grin on his face, a twinkle in his eye and a thumb raised in his trademark “It’s all good” gesture.

2022-06-18 John Chau Thumbs Up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNksqCzMKkk&t=206s

https://www.persecution.com/martyr/?_source_code=WEBI19E2

https://www.persecution.com/free-magazine/

Pray for Justice Clarence Thomas

2022-03-21 Pray for Clarence Thomas
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was hospitalized Friday evening, March 18, with flu-like symptoms.  Pray earnestly for him that he will fully recover, as it is now being expected.  He does not have the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, and is recovering.

The horror of our current Absent-Mind-in-Chief appointing TWO Supreme Court Justices would revert the Court back to the dark ages of the last half-century when leftists used the Court to push agendas they could not accomplish at the voting booths.

But for that matter, we should be praying for president Biden, “vice” president Harris, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, along with all our justices and community leaders.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.1 Timothy 2:1-2

Someone, please, remind me that no government can be established unless Yahweh, the Creator and Lord of all the earth, allows it.  Sometimes it is hard to see His Hand, but when such is the case, I will trust His Heart.  As a perceptive friend often says, “You are wise and will know how to apply.” 😉