A Letter to the American Church

Letter to the American Church is the latest book by Eric Metaxas, author of fourteen other books including Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and If You Can Keep It.

He draws some significant parallels between what is happening in America with developments in the German Lutheran churches just prior or WW2, which significantly enabled Adolf Hitler and his minions to execute six million (6,000,000) Jews, not to mention hundreds of thousands of others deemed “deficient” by the Nazi regime.  These “others” included anyone not of “Aryan stock” such as Blacks, Latinos and Asians, as well as those they considered deviant, such as homosexuals, drug addicts, thieves and gamblers.

Lining up Critical Race Theory, Cancel Culture, Transgenderism and Abortion as the current sins of America, he points out the moral superiority claimed by those espousing these views.  “Part of what makes them so wicked is that they smilingly pretend to share the biblical values that champions the underdog against the oppressor.”  These were the same claims of Stalin, Hitler and Mao who butchered millions in the name of “fighting for the people.”

Further, he points out that while these issues are political, there is sufficient overlap with Gospel themes and Biblical values that any church that refuses to address them is tragically mistaken.  These “politics” are as demonically inspired as Hitler’s answer to “the Jewish Question,” and must be met by a Christ-honoring church that believes the Gospel touches on all areas of human life.  He challenges churches that feel we should mind our own business of spiritual matters, “as though the truth of God were a parochial, subjective idea that has no bearing on anything beyond our private prayer times and church meetings.”

This, he warns, was what paralyzed the German Church as Hitler pretended that he was with them, all the while quietly working to co-opt and undermine them.  Privately he actually despised the Church and Christianity generally, though he could not say so openly.  Just as the Three-Self-Churches of China today cannot preach the entire truth of Scripture without being shut down, Hitler’s program was to create a “Reich Church” subservient to the Nazi political agenda.  Enacting sweeping “emergency decrees” suddenly allowed Hitler to do things without the approval of the German Parliament… think “pandemic measures” to control the American population.  John Kerry, at last year’s World Economic Forum, noted that this could be an excellent model for enacting economic measures to control many national money streams.

“The Nazis controlled the media narrative and instantly whipped up a hysterical fear of… their opponents.”  Perhaps you have followed how mainstream media has been complicit with government agencies to further the fears of our population and fix on stories that support the “official” views of government and health agencies.

Many churches hung Nazi banners and flags outside their buildings and even inside their sanctuaries… It may be plausibly compared to well-meaning churches today displaying rainbow banners and BLM flags… They only wish to show that they are not like those other rigid and narrow-minded churches and that they are inclusive and generally mean no harm.  They don’t seem to know that the forces behind those banners are only smiling at them in order to deceive them; as soon as they have the cultural and political power, they will show their dedicatedly atheist colors, and will show clearly what they think of Christian virtues such as mercy and humility and love of one’s enemies.

Even a cursory reading of the Gospels will show that “Jesus was certainly not the nonjudgmental caricature that so many have made him to be.”  Did you know that the swastika that is now so despised in the west was actually borrowed from Hinduism, signifying “svas to’ ke,” meaning “conducive to wellness”?

There is a “Spiral of Silence” political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann described that asserts when one does not speak against an evil they witness, they are contributing to the success of that thing they refuse to name and condemn.  As people of conscience fail to speak against an evident evil, the price for speaking against it rises, i.e., eventually an entire nation or culture becomes silenced for fear of speaking.

This was in Chuck Colson’s mind as he helped frame The Manhattan Declaration in 2009.  Bolstered by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s stance against Naziism in 1932, the declaration calls on Christ-followers to be clear and vocal in their opposition to the idea that Christians should be “apolitical” and stick to “issues of faith.”  This, Metaxas says, is the mistake the German Lutherans made due to overcompensation against legalism that Martin Luther decried.  He specifies Luther’s avoidance of the letter of James in the Bible which clearly teaches that what one believes will affect the actions one takes.  Bonhoeffer called Luther’s stance on this “cheap grace,” an easy religion that avoids controversy and does not address the nuances of what it means to fully live out our faith.  He asks, “Does how I live show God that I actually believe that I claim to believe?  Or does how I live show God that actually I do not believe what I claim to believe.?”  Just as we cannot get to Heaven by doing good works, we cannot get to Heaven without good works, because if we have faith that will take us to Heaven, it will be a faith that is lived out inevitably in good works.

As recently as this book was published in 2022, Metaxas asks, “Shall we arrest the downward spiral, or will we go along with it until we can say nothing about anything?  Are we already very close to that?”

Of course, there is some truth in every lie that will make it believable, and Metaxas does not shy away from the fact that many Christians and their organizations have been “over-political.”  This thinking puts our hopes in a national policy, a particular candidate or party, or in legislation or courts, that if we can just get this law passed or that ruling overturned, everything will be all right.  This thinking, he says, makes an idol of politics rather than a mechanism by which Christians can share their good intentions and the love of Jesus.

Near the end of his text, he lays out the entire books premise: “Truth is truth. All truth is God’s truth, and sometimes it is those who are not bound up and crippled by entangling and confused ‘religious’ views who can see most clearly… Being a Christian is not about avoiding sin, but about passionately and courageously serving God.”

This is a book for every Christ-follower, pastor and church leader that will challenge you to reconsider, What is the Church?  Watch this 11 minute video of Francis Chan addressing this question:

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.”

Hope In Dark Times – Guest Intermezzo Blog by PK Adams

Hope in Dark Times – by Blue Skies and Green Pastures

It’s feels much easier to be cynical these days than to share the ‘good news’ of Jesus. But isn’t that why the good news is so good? As evil grows more powerful, and the narrative of death and fear is used constantly to push people towards the state to ‘save them’ with technology, the unsaved world becomes less willing to hear about an unseen savior that tells them that suffering is inevitable and that they should be looking forward to a ‘kingdom’ that seems too far away. But this is the truth and the truth is better than false hope.


Our lives on this planet are very short compared to the eternity we will experience after death. The suffering we may be experiencing now on earth, while it can be terrible and seem like it will last forever, is mercifully limited. And if we know Jesus, we can have supernatural peace even in the midst of suffering. Not ‘happy feelings’, but the assurance that God will work all things together for good for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28. Our ultimate hope is not in the state or technology, but in the knowledge that God through his holiness and justice will make things right for his children.

Some of us are actually suffering in our own lives due to pain, illness, loneliness, death of loved ones, lost jobs, precarious living arrangements, or the loss of hope that things will get better. It is the last one that we must try to change. We must remember the promises of God, continue to trust Him, keep looking for ways to serve him and others. Others of us are struggling because of the growing evil in the world and the fear that has taken over our hearts and minds. We fear for our children and grandchildren and our own lives. We are called to continue doing good, loving others, sharing Jesus, giving to the church, studying the Word, and not let the world steal our hope and joy.

Many generations of believers have gone before us. Compared to them, most of us (at least in the West) are living in a rich, free, and comfortable world. We can be thankful for the inventions that God allowed men and women to make that have made life so much easier. I am glad we no longer have to hunt and gather food daily to survive or fight off invaders in our village or die from childbirth or a simple illness or accident. Yet, greed, idolatry, rebellion, and pride are still a constant threat that manifests as statism, wars, violence, crime, immorality, and ideological narratives that attempt to control the public. There is nothing new under the sun, as it says in the Ecclesiastes. Until we live in the kingdom, we will deal with the fallout of sin.

While we wait for Jesus to return, let us not grow weary, lose hope, or let our hearts grow cold. This is the true test of faith, can you keep hope alive? Paul tells us in Philippians 4: Let the peace that passes understanding rule in your hearts and keep you focused on Jesus who is near to you and even inside you. We can do all things, even suffer, when we abide in Him. Our job as believers is to show this hope and faith to the world and each other.

Do Not Pray for This People

From our pulpits we hear constantly how God is merciful and forgives sin.  Often a mark of “success” of a sermon seems to be how good people feel about themselves as they leave a meeting or church service.  Pastors do not want to hear complaints or negative comments; they only want to be told how many attended and how large the offering was.  Would it meet the budget and have money for the programs?  The polish and prominence of the parish is the paramount proportion to show we are doing “the Lord’s work.”  This is not to say all pastors or church leaders are out of the loop of what Father may be planning, but there seems to have been so much emphasis in the last few decades on love that we have not heard any warnings about ignoring God’s goodness.

How rarely does one hear of God’s anger, even though there are over 150 references to God’s judgment in the Bible and only about half that in reference to God having mercy?  Of course, a word search does not fully reveal the themes of Scripture and certainly, God IS merciful.  The concept of His desire for none to be lost, and for all to come to repentance is rife throughout the Word.  The Bible is God’s love letter to us, that we can be saved from judgment!  Yet, one of the chief motivations to appeal for His mercy, is that unless we entreat Him for it, He WILL pronounce judgment on the recalcitrant.  His mercy is for anyone who requests it, but what of those who refuse to ask or do not even know that they should!?

God is certainly more patient than we are.  Within the book of Judges, there is a pattern of disobedience followed by punishment, followed by repentance, followed by deliverance, followed by repeated disobedience . . . over and over and over and over!!  This pattern continued throughout the Kings of Israel and Judah, until finally God’s patience wore out.  All along the way, He raised up many prophets to warn the people that judgment would come, until finally, He told Jeremiah to stop praying for the people!

How far down the path of calling good evil and evil good can we go before we have exhausted His patience again?  How many innocents who have not yet been born can we kill, sacrificing them to the gods of convenience, fame and money?  What does one make of an elected governor who says abortion is the way to love your neighbor!? (Ezekiel 16:35-3823:37-43).  How long can we keep putting darkness for light and light for darkness; how long can we exchange bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter; how long can we be wise in our own eyes, promote heroes for how much wine they can drink, and take bribes to acquit the guilty and deprive the innocent of their rights?  (Isaiah 5:20-25).

Is the USA past a point of no return?  Is God telling His people to stop praying for our nation?  When you pray for our leaders and the condition of our country, do you get a sense that Heaven is brass, and God will not listen anymore?  Who will warn the society that famine may be a season away, that a sword is being sharpened to cut off the life of the republic?  Should we not be concerned when the choices for our leaders have devolved so low, when Supreme Court Justices must fear for their lives because of ruling in favor of protecting the unborn?  Are the following warnings given to Jeremiah about Israel equivalent to God’s words to the United States?  Who will warn our people?

“Do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you.  Do you not see what they are doing in the cities and in the streets?  The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the Queen of Heaven.  And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.  Is it I whom they provoke?  Is it not themselves, to their own shame?”  Therefore, thus says Yahweh-Elohim, “Behold, my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched.” (Jeremiah 7:16-20)

“They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words.  They have gone after other gods to serve them. …” Therefore, says Yahweh, “Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape.  Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them.  Then they will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble.  For your gods have become as many as your cities, and as many as your streets are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal.  Therefore, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.  What right has my beloved in my house, when she has done many vile deeds?  Can even sacrificial flesh avert your doom?” … Yahweh once called you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.’  But with the roar of a great tempest, He will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed.  “I, Yahweh-tzavot [The LORD of hosts], who planted you, has decreed disaster against you, because of the evil you have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.”  (Jeremiah 11:10-17)

“Yahweh said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people.  Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer … offerings, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”  Then I said: “Ah, Yahweh-Elohim, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’”  And Yahweh said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them.  They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.  Therefore, thus I, Yahweh say concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed.  And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets, victims of famine and sword, with none to bury them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters.  For I will pour out their evil upon them.” (Jeremiah 14:11-16)

May Yahweh, The God Who Is, have mercy on us.  Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Guest blog by B.G. O’Neal: God Will Turn It Around!

As we wrap out another year, let me encourage you with BG O’Neal’s blog of encouragement.  I also hope with Jews around the world who proclaim each Passover: “Next Year in Jerusalem.”  Perhaps we will attend next year in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21).  So as we end this year and move into 2023, consider where you are on your faith journey.  “When we all come to die, does it make the slightest difference which political party we belong to?  Does it matter whether we are rich or poor, learned or otherwise?  There is only one fundamental distinction, and that is whether we belong to the world or to Christ.“  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come.
I’ve added some graphics and an additional YouTube link.

by Flip Side – Word Up, BG O’Neal 

We live in a most precarious time when trust seems to be pendulous. It feels like so much is just hanging in the air. There are so many variables to consider. Oh, the look on sad ashen faces! It is like a generation lost. And we thought we had it so bad growing up in the 50s to 70s.

How does a person, young or old contend with the affairs of this day? Political unrest! Church attendance! Divorce rates! And sadly a society that loves to escape to fantasy! Be whatever you feel like! Be a furry, be a dog! That may provide a temporary mirage of an escape. Wait until you get treated like a dog!!!

A dog’s life is not always about being loved and cared for. Sometimes they get abused, starved, killed. What about just being what your loving Creator, “Yahweh,” made you to be? Man up! Woman up! No wonder the world is so forlorn, so torn, so sad! But are we praying for our world, or do we seek only our own good?

Please realize that we are not alone in facing the issues in our world. The same rain falls on us all! The same sun shines on us all! We all have to deal with life! We all face the same perplexities. They have not changed much but rather intensified: suicide rates; political unrest; a broken economy with unfathomable debt!

So many broken marriages. Unemployment on the rise! We live in a lazy co-dependent society. Lack of customer service and disrespect is one of the results of a godless society. Anger and hatred against God and Christ is rampant! Have you ever seen such rudeness and ignorance? It’s sad to say that these same attributes exude from our pulpits at times! No wonder there is so much anxiety in the world!!!

I know it seems that I have painted a very bleak picture. However, there is hope! God was in Christ reconciling the world back unto himself. This same Jesus is still the way, the truth, and the life! He is the Savior for all who accept him. As the song says, “The only real peace I have dear Lord is in you!” You also can have that peace of knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior!

Accept him today and be filled with the Holy Spirit who gives true peace. Life will still be tough! Things will at times be difficult to understand! You will make it through your trials! And oh, the joy that God gives!!! The ‘pseudo’ happiness the world offers is just that! Fake! Would you now consider praying and seeking the Lord for salvation?

Let God turn some things around for you. Experience His grace and mercy! Rest in his ever abiding peace and love! Listen to the heart cry of the Psalmist in this passage below:

“I’m worn out with my weeping and groaning. Night after night I soak my pillow with tears, and flood my bed with weeping. My eyes of faith won’t focus anymore, for sorrow fills my heart. There are so many enemies who come against me! Turn from me, all you troublemakers! For Yahweh has turned to hear the sound of my weeping. Yes! Yahweh my healer has heard all my pleading and has taken hold of my prayers and answered them all.” Psalms 6:6-9 (TPT).

 

 

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)

Thanxgiving Approaches

Thanxgiving later next week remains the last of America’s truly “family holidays.”  There was a time when almost all holidays were family times, oriented around a dad, mom and progeny that were born to them; perhaps some extensions with uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents if one was fortunate enough to meet the octogenarians of previous generations.  As a child, if a family did not have their groceries and details in order for any holiday, from New Years Day to Independence Day to Christmas, you could anticipate sitting at home for the day with nothing to do or eat!

Like the last gasps of a dying patient before he leaves the world of the living, Turkey Day is getting a small reprieve from the incessant march of materialism and identity politics that are trampling the “old world” underfoot.  Many stores are closing this Thanxgiving, more than in previous years.

Walmarts, even though started by a man who claimed to be a Christian, have been open on TG Day since the 1980s, but like many retailers, closed for the holiday during covid’s run in 2020 and ’21.  Now, they and others like Target have decided to keep the fourth Thursday of November as a true holiday with closed stores.

Yahoo News reports that stores closed for Thanksgiving 2022 will include Aldi’s, Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, HomeGoods, Penney’s, Kohl’s, Marshalls, Sam’s Club, Staples, Target and Walmart.  Even the entire Fayette Mall will be closed!   And Lowe’s and Home Depot have always been closed on TG Day since their founding, so no surprises there… yet.  Only a handful of national chains like 7-11 or drug stores plan to open this Thanksgiving.

But do not let this small respite this year deceive you.  The retailers are boasting all kinds of “Black Friday” deals and special times of openings on the day after.  And I suspect it will only be a matter of a few years before they start competing again for Thanxgiving Day dollars, opening earlier and earlier until it will seem as ludicrous to be closed on Thanxgiving as Kohl’s found it when they started opening in Lexington at midnight as Thursday turned into Friday.  Now the stores all offer “Black Friday Deals” starting the week before Thanxgiving!

Add to that the constant slowing of the beep-beep of the nation’s heart-monitor as the family becomes more distant and dissected by unmarried young people who, though living together, are divorced from real family relationships that call for commitment and tenacity to maintain the vitality of a tribal identity.  And many people are actually getting tired of the battles for in-person best deals on Black Friday as online shopping has taken off so well over the past two years.

It may seem bleak to those of us who remember gathering with family for all of the holidays past: Christmas at Grandpa’s farm in Paradise, Kansas; New Year’s Eve at a “watchnight” service in a local church that would find people at the altar praying instead of counting down the ball-drop with Dick Clark on TV; President’s Day that combined Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays into one day in February; St. Patrick’s Day parades downtown; Easter with pageantry of the Crucifixion and Resurrection played out by Sunday School teachers dressed in bath robes; Memorial Day when we would decorate the graves of deceased family members; Independence Day with parades and fireworks; the long eventless summer with only family and sometimes a week at camp.  Then the fall would kick off a new season with Veteran’s Day parades and honors for our war dead as we went back to school; Halloween would push us into “THE holidays” with Christmas decorations still in storage until after Thanxgiving Day.

And every one of these “holy-days” were spent with family, whether at a graveside or cheering a high school band in a parade; whether at a church meeting or dressed in Dad’s overalls and washable dots for whiskers for a costume.
We were always together as a family.

But those days are gone, and likely not coming back.  These are not just the musings of a man reaching old age.  It is an observation of the desert of relationships to which society is inexorably moving, and of the times in which we live.

History is reaching a tipping point from which there is no return.   We will not be like gods, the way many are expecting.  From TED talks to Disney productions, mankind has drunk from the devil’s kool-aid, and Father in Heaven is getting ready to say, “That is quite enough of that.”   The devil’s lie is still what it was in the Garden of Eden: “YOU can be like GOD!” (Genesis 3:5)

Whether it is age-defying creams for sale at Walgreen’s, diets to prolong life in Men’s Health or movies that portray survivors of cataclysms (Greenland), humans still want to believe they are limitless.

History is not repeating itself (though it does rhyme); i.e., no century on earth has ever seen the technological and global developments we are witnessing.  At no time in our past have we every reached the 8,000,000,000th person, which ethnographers believe we attained on November 15.  Before our time, no one even expected this until Robert Frolich wrote The P-Bomb in 1968, which proved to be a farsical over-simplification of human resourcefulness.

All indications point to a mark in history soon to occur: the return of Jesus, called the Christ, at which time the Last Age of the Earth will begin.  This is not the fantasy of Hollywood movies, but the trajectory of God’s timeline revealed in the Bible, where not a single prophecy has ever been demonstrated to not occur.  The only ones left to be fulfilled are those that refer to this final chapter of this world’s story.  So gather with your family this Thanxgiving and thank The God Who Is for revealing His love, holiness, grace and truth in Jesus, and for promising to come back and take those who have put their faith in Him to be with Him forever.

If you do not know Jesus, please, please, please, consider praying to Him to invite Him into your life today.  Contact me if you want to know more or to find out how this will radically affect your life, relationships and future . . . while there is still time.

Maranatha, even so, come Lord Jesus.

Pray for Persecuted Christ-followers Around the World – A Guest Blog from Morgan Lee, Christianity Today

When persecuted Christ-followers ask for prayer, I find it intriguing how very few ask for financial aid or release!  Most ask for holy boldness to continue to fulfill the Great Commission.  How will you pray when persecution comes to your neighborhood?  These prayers should NOT be just one or two Sundays per year.

If we cannot go, we should give; if we cannot give, we should write letters of encouragement or support through legal action.  But in ALL cases, if you love Christ’s Church, we should pray DAILY and CONTINUALLYThese are your brothers and sisters who are being imprisoned, tortured and killed because they name the Name of Jesus as their savior.

They are not anarchists nor government agitators nor agents for foreign powers.  They only want their families, friends, neighbors and persecutors to go to Heaven when they die and the freedom to tell them how to do this.

How the Persecuted Church Wants You to Pray

Leaders in six countries explain how Christians can best support and rejoice with fellow believers suffering for their faith.  Compiled by Morgan Lee for Christianity TodayNovember 10, 2022

The first two Sundays of November, as part of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, Christians around the world intentionally intercede for their brothers and sisters in Christ who face violence, prison, arson, kidnapping, bureaucratic restrictions, and shunning because of their faith.

Around 309 million Christians live in places with very high or extreme levels of persecution, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List. Shortly after the release of last year’s list, Christians from around the world shared their joys and concerns. We encourage you to use the praises and requests of Christians from the six countries included here as a tool to guide your prayers today.

China:  We praise God:

  • for God keeping his church faithful in meeting for worship in spite of the pandemic and persecution.
  • that, using new technologies such as Zoom, many churches have been able to develop creative evangelistic opportunities that were not previously available.
  • During strict government pandemic control, many urban churches have been closed. But some of these believers have been able to transfer to house churches and continued to grow spiritually there.

We pray:

  • Some house churches are still under severe persecution. Preachers are being arrested on trumped-up charges. Pray for the preachers’ perseverance and for their families.
  • Internet meetings in some churches are often interfered with and disrupted by the government, and many elderly believers need training for using new technologies.
  • In Xi Jinping’s third term, the church is facing even greater challenges and more serious persecution. Many Chinese people who feel threatened, including believers, will choose to leave China if they are capable of immigrating elsewhere. Pray that God will keep and guide those who choose to leave as well as those who choose to stay.

A* C* (name changed for security reasons), a house church pastor in Hubei

Egypt:  We praise God:

  • for protecting our ministry to women in rural Upper Egyptian villages. He has provided for all the needs of this team and its beneficiaries. God is faithful and good all time with us.
  • for the start of construction of our community center at El Minya in Upper Egypt.
  • Our first community center, known Oasis Center, was badly affected by COVID-19. Now all activities at the Oasis have returned, including conferences, the vocational training courses, and the retreats.

We pray:

  • for ending trafficking of girls in El Hawamdeya, where parents often sold their daughters to rich old men. We continue to pray for the protection for women and for more awareness for parents.
  • for inflation in Egypt and how the poor people are affected by this. Every time we distribute sacks of food, we find that the poor people are increasing. We pray that God will provide.
  • for planned demonstrations on November 11 by opposition groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. We pray for security for the whole country and for stability and protection for churches.
    Submitted by Bassem Fekry, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Egypt

India:  We praise God:

  • that in spite of anti-conversion laws in certain states, hundreds of new believers have come to know the saving grace of our Lord.
  • Due to the pandemic we didn’t have VBS for several years, but this summer we were finally able to conduct it! Due to an unexpected rainy season, we had to postpone it several times but thank God we could finally accomplish the task.
  • that he enabled us to reach out to the interior tribal villages in the eastern part of India. More than 700 school teachers received training about how to teach students to adopt Christlike character. We also trained 350 gospel workers in church planting.

We pray:

  • for our Christmas outreach ministries to people with leprosy, blind people, commercial sex workers, and tribal and slum street children
  • Due to anti-conversion laws we were unable to baptize 350 new believers in various communities as we needed to obtain official approval from the government authorities through the court of law. We need to wait 40 to 60 days in order to get approval from the court and the local police. Pray that everything goes well with the legal process.
  • We have 2,500 church planting and Christlike character training books. We need funds towards imparting training gospel workers throughout India. Please uphold us in your prayer for the needed funds and other training logistics.
    David K. Dass, national director, India Gospel League

Iraq:  We praise God:

  • for his work through the church because he blessed us during this year by being able to visit one of the displaced people’s camps in Ramadi. We provided families with food baskets and presented a message of love to the children at the camp.

We pray:

  • for the stability of the political and security situation in Iraq and that this stability will bring comfort and peace to the country and citizens of various secondary affiliations, such as race, religion, sect, clan, and tribe. (Many challenges in Iraq are related to the dominance of sub-identities over national identity.)
    Ara Badalian, senior pastor of the National Evangelical Baptist Church in Baghdad

Laos: We pray:

  • that the church will grow and be strengthened so that it can be administratively, evangelistically, and financially self-reliant and be a blessing to the development of the nation.
  • for unity among believers, church leaders and between every church.
    The Protestant church community in Laos

Mali:  We praise God:

  • Mali has been going through a multidimensional crisis for a decade. This has greatly affected the church, especially in the north and center of the country. Despite this growing insecurity, God continues to watch over the local churches.
  • for the commitment of the churches in the witness of Jesus Christ despite their difficult context. Evangelism initiatives like the distribution of Christian tracts, evangelism messages on radio stations, and evangelism through personal relationships continue to move forward.
  • because the church is making its voice heard by the authorities of the country through the Association of Groups of Evangelical Protestant Churches and Missions in Mali (AGEMPEM) and the Episcopal Conference.

We pray:

  • for churches to grow and engage in holistic acts of witness. Pray for the unity of the body of Christ in the current context of Mali, which is marked by an increasingly visible Islamic extremism.
  • for Christian families displaced because of the conflict. May God grant peace and courage necessary for spiritual, psychological, and economic resilience.
  • Kidnappings continue in northern and central Mali. Pray that God will preserve the lives of the church members and that the churches will be protected from terrorist threats and attacks. Pray that the church will continue to be a powerful instrument in God’s hands to bring peace, restore wounded hearts, and ease downcast spirits.
  • that the church in Mali will emerge victorious from this situation and continue to proclaim and manifest God’s unconditional love.
    Josue Djire, faith, development, and peacebuilding advisor at World Vision Mali

Pakistan:  We praise God:

  • for the churches and seminaries who are faithfully serving the Lord and expanding the kingdom of God.
  • for blessed spiritual senior leadership and the development of young pastors and evangelists.
  • for the Pakistani church and Christian NGOs being salt and light during the current flood disaster.

We pray:

  • for the underage forced marriage and forced conversion of Christian teenage girls.
  • for illiterate Christians to obtain education as they are below the poverty line and are mostly persecuted.
  • for the victims of false blasphemy cases.
  • for the unity and purity of the Pakistani church, so they become bold witnesses of Christ through their words and actions.
  • for the great movement of the Holy Spirit to revive the church through the Word of God, miracles, and conversions.
    Ujala Hans, lead pastor at CPM (Christ for Pakistan Ministries) Church Pakistan, Lahore

With additional reporting by Jayson Casper, Angela Lu Fulton, and Sean Cheng.

Still As Dumb As Ever – Get Rid of DST!

It’s that time of year again when everyone has to mess with any clocks that are not synchronized to some satellite to “wake up” an hour earlier.  There are very few things our Congress has done that are dumber than Daylight Saving Time.  However, Senators Mark Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida have devised one to up the ante!  They introduced and the Senate passed the “Protect the Sunshine Act” last spring, 2022.

2022-07-30 King Canute and the Uncooperative TideThe hubris of the name of this proposed law rivals the efforts of King Canute who sat his throne by the Aegean Sea and commanded the tide to stop coming in.  And we know how THAT turned out.  The King finally relented and declared, “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.”  If he were alive today, he would have simply moved the high-tide markers and declared, “There, I stopped the tide,” much as Congress does with our clocks: “There, we gave you an extra hour of sunshine.”  🤪

But that did not stop the idiots in the Senate from passing this absurd bill on March 16, 2022.  The bill is intended to make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent as of November 5, 2023.  That is the day before we are supposed to return to normal standard time.

2022-07-30 DST InsanityThe asininity of this proposed law boggles the mind!  Are Floridians, and by extension, all Americans, so lame-brained that we cannot just get up an hour earlier if that is what we wish to do!?  How does this law “protect the sunshine!?”  AND why are our Senators and Representatives wasting time messing with our clocks, instead of addressing inflation, illegal immigration/oppressive visa constraints, fuel regulation, voter integrity/freedom of voter access, and concerns of normal Americans?  While many of Senator Rubio’s and Scott’s proposals and views line up well with conservative values, this one came out of the wild blue yonder as inane government overreach.  If you are an American citizen, let me encourage you to write to your Congressperson in the House of Representatives and urge common sense!  The Senate abdicated any measure of sanity and passed this already.

To find your representative, try this link: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.  To assist you in your effort to get the House to use common sense, here is a sample letter.  Feel free to copy and paste or develop your own appeal to your Representatives to use their brains for a change.
____________________________________

Dear Representative Barr,

In March, 2022 the Senate passed a bill to make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent!  This is one of the dumbest things Congress has attempted to do since instituting DST in the first place.  It is true that most normal Americans and Europeans hate moving our clocks back and forth with the seasons, and the loss of productivity for the weeks after each change is substantial.

However, rather than make DST permanent, PLEASE, now that we have changed back to UTC+/-, the “normal time” most of the world uses, stop DST from ever plaguing us again!  Primarily, the US and Europe are the only ones dumb enough to use DST.

You have much more important issues facing our nation than some idiot’s idea to force our clocks out of sync with the rest of the world.  If we are going to mess with the clocks this way, why not move them BACK FIVE HOURSThat way we could all sleep in until noon and go to work “later” in the day.  This makes as much sense as making DST permanent!!

I will be watching for your vote or non-vote on this issue next spring before the 2024 election cycle kicks in.
yours truly,
c.a.post
________________________________
“Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question, is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

American pastor delivers message of coming ‘dark wave’ of persecution.

At ICEJ Feast, Andrew Brunson delivers challenging but vital message gleaned from his own experiences during two years in a Turkish prison.  This is a guest blog about Andrew Brunson by Nicole Jansezian – October 18, 2022.

[Andrew Brunson speaking at the Garden Tomb during the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s Feast of Tabernacles celebration, Oct. 15, 2022. (Photo courtesy ICEJ)]

Andrew Brunson’s message is straightforward, but it is far from simple: The Western Church needs to brace for a dark wave of persecution that is coming.

Imprisoned for two years on false charges of terrorism in Turkey, the seasoned missionary says he quickly “broke,” lost any sense of God’s presence and became suicidal during his incarceration.  “I began even questioning God’s existence,” Brunson said.  Hardly inspiring.  But sobering for those who have ears to hear.

Brunson and his wife Norine – who had been missionaries in Turkey for 23 years prior to the arrest – were in Israel this month for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s Feast of Tabernacles celebration where Brunson taught what he believes Christians must know in order to face trials and tests that are sure to come.

In an interview with ALL ISRAEL NEWS, Brunson said this is not the message he prefers to carry but it is the one God gave him.  He foresees a cultural and social persecution coming to the United States in which the exclusivity of Jesus as the only way to salvation will become a controversial stance.

“Most of the institutions of society are supporting things that a faithful follower of Jesus cannot embrace… and that’s how they will justify persecuting us,” Brunson said.  Believers who stand for this truth will be marginalized in schools, jobs, banks and more, he added.  Testing believers’ resolve, the pressure to conform will manifest socially and eventually financially.

“What has emerged as the main flashpoint is gender identity and LGBT.  And wherever that is intersecting with religious freedom, LGBT is winning,” he said.  “Now there is a requirement that people not only tolerate, but that we embrace and celebrate this ideology.  And if you don’t, you are seen as someone who is hateful.”

The younger generation of believers and even many churches are shying away from these issues, Brunson said, “not (only) because it will bring pressure from outside but because it will divide the church.  There is already a measure of deception in the Church.  The church is pulling back on teaching truth, the next generation is going to be confused,” Brunson warned.

“In the States, we have an issue where it is a majority-Christian culture with Judeo-Christian values.  But our culture is post- and anti-Christian,” he said.  “Do we fight this and try to continue to have influence?  This is where the real tension is right now.”

One of the difficulties will be persecution couched in accusations of hatred and bigotry rather than directly connected to one’s faith.  In Brunson’s case, he was slapped with false political charges.  “When I was in Turkey, if they had said, ‘Andrew Brunson is a church planter,’ I would have worn it with pride.  Instead, they said, ‘He’s evil and he’s a terrorist,’ so I was made into a hate figure,” he said.  “People who are going to remain faithful are going to be seen as a people of hate.  The same thing happened to Jesus.  They said He was demonic, and eventually they killed Him.”

What Happened In Turkey?
Brunson was swept up in a crackdown on activists and military leaders who were accused of attempting to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2016.  Norine was also arrested and released after two weeks.  Their children – all in America at the time – had no news from their parents at the beginning.  In the subsequent two years, Norine remained in Turkey since she was the only person allowed to visit Andrew in prison.

Initially facing not one or two, but three life sentences, and despite experiencing prior persecution in other forms as a missionary, Brunson said he was unprepared for the spiritual desert he faced in prison.  He was at times placed in solitary confinement and at other times endured isolation as the only Christian among 22 Muslims in a cell made for eight people.

Brunson’s arrest captured the attention of the White House as well as the church.  Former U.S. President Donald Trump took personal interest in the case and repeatedly mentioned Brunson’s name in a meeting with Erdoğan.  After this initial contact, Brunson said a flood of propaganda was published in the Turkish media accusing him of being an American spy or even the head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

[Then-U.S. President Donald Trump poses with Pastor Andrew Brunson and his wife, Norine, outside of the Oval Office of the White House on October 13, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Reuters)]

Former Vice President Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian, also kept up the pressure on the Turkish government at the time.  “If Turkey does not take immediate action to free this innocent man of faith and send him home to America, the United States will impose significant sanctions on Turkey until Pastor Andrew Brunson is free,” Pence tweeted in July 2018.

Indeed, the U.S. did impose sanctions.  When the Turkish stock market lost $40 million and the nation’s currency, the lira, collapsed, more propaganda sought to blame that on the imprisoned Brunson.

In late July 2018, Brunson was remanded to his home in Izmir, Turkey – where he had led an Evangelical church – to await trial.  Then, on Oct. 12, 2018, Brunson was convicted – partially based on the false testimony of long-time acquaintances from his ministry.  But in a dramatic finale, Brunson was sentenced to time served.  That same day, he and Norine left Turkey.

The last thing we said was, ‘We love Turkey.’  It was not a naive love, but more it was us saying that God put His love in us.  It is not a love expressed emotionally, but in commitment and wanting to see good come to that nation.  We want to see God’s blessing on Turkey, to see people become aware of Jesus.  We left Turkey blessing it.”

A Sobering Message
Brunson believes that God orchestrated his time in jail so that he could bring this message of preparedness to the Church.  “God gave me the assignment to prepare people for hardship,” Brunson told AIN.  “It’s not what I prefer to carry, but it’s what He’s given me.”

Recently, Brunson filmed a teaching series called “Prepare to Stand” in which he shares lessons that he hopes will help believers survive a coming wave of persecution.   Brunson said Daniel 11:32 is a critical passage of scripture, but it must be taken in the correct order: “…but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”

“It is not the time to think about the exploits,” Brunson said.  “Focus on that first part – otherwise you’re not going to be standing to do the exploits and the assignments that God has for you in a much darker environment.”

In his teachings, both in his videos and during the Feast of Tabernacles here in Jerusalem, Brunson emphasized he was surprised he broke so quickly, to the point he even questioned God’s existence.  “I made it a discipline to declare, ‘God, You exist,’” he recalled.

[Andrew Brunson speaking at International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s Feast of Tabernacles celebration, October 2022. (Photo courtesy ICEJ)]

Brunson also made it a discipline to pray, worship and declare God’s faithfulness each day.  And he had to come to terms that God’s will may not have included his release from prison.  While in prison, Brunson grappled with an ever-present fear and feeling offended by God.  “The reaction is to become distant from God, to have the heart grow so cold you lose the relationship,” Brunson said.

But focusing now on preparation of the heart can hopefully help us stand during persecution, Brunson said.  That includes aligning our hearts and determining to stand for God’s moral standards which Brunson said are “now are seen as harmful to society.”

God required Brunson to prove his love by staying faithful even when he felt abandoned by Him, he said during a service at the Garden Tomb on Saturday.  “There is a difference between real love and an unproven love,” Brunson said.  Brunson taught that there is an aspect of Jesus we cannot know without partaking in the fellowship of His suffering.  “But,” he said, “even if we don’t feel His presence, God will not abandon us.”

“As we head into a time of great turbulence and face difficulties and tests, He will shepherd your heart.  Lean into Him because He is committed to taking you through,” Brunson said.

Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS

This is a follow-up to last week’s blog about a likely route of persecution via CBDC.