Trying to Be Something You are Not

Billy Graham is one of the top 10 most important people of the 20th century. He had a unique role and accomplished what he set out to do. And he has many copycats.

My seminary professor told us to listen to the evangelists trying to be another Billy.  They even faked his southern accent.  Maybe that is good training but it can’t substitute for what God has called you to be.  God is not looking for carbon copies of anyone or anything, a fact we can verify in our un-copy-able DNA.

Young girls want to be movie starts or famous singers, swathed in furs and diamonds. But the story of fame is a difficult burden. Boys want to be high paid sports stars with a pricey car and a gaggle of groupy-girls.

The “beautiful” people are surrounded by insincere hangers-on hoping to bask in their fame. Money buys opportunity but many famous people are never told the awful truth about their bad behavior or attitude. Just because you have a lot of money does not mean you should be buying cocaine. And erelong you are trapped, thinking the money that bought you in can also buy you out. It won’t!

The happiest people are those who know who they are and what they are supposed to be doing. Older people usually get to this point and their calm and self-confidence helps their grandchildren.

Everyone call a plan for his/her life.

Jeremiah 29:11 I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.

Everyone has gifts and a calling.

Romans 11:29 (The Message) God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.

Your gifts match your calling. And God will train you for the work.  Maybe you thought all those music lessons would send you to an early grave, but lo and behold, hours of concentration on another language (reading music is a language unto itself) now you need that discipline even though you never touched the piano after age 15. That job you had working for an idiot and being paid next to nothing taught you patience and to keep your mouth shut, a skill you find you need very badly now. All those camping trips with Dad, hating the flies and mosquitoes and falling in the lake as a child have made your work now in forest management easier and actually, fun.

At one time children thought religious work always meant the church. Today moderns know that God uses his people in every corner of the world and in every profession and job. Coming to the realization that you are in the center of God’s will as a secular worker opens up a brand new view of yourself.  Happy people are those who are fulfilled in their own call, not in someone else’s.

God said this: I am the Lord. I change not. (Malachi 3:6)

What this means is that you change in order to come into His presence.  If you are uncomfortable in your own skin, talk to him.

European Stupidity Created America

Americans are so separate from the rest of the world and so absorbed with our own problems we cannot imagine the world of 1700 out of which our little nation grew. While Europeans were wearing powdered wigs and overindulging getting richer as the poor got poorer the  American colonists they called hicks, were educating themselves in the classics, learning Latin, Greek and common law, studying Shakespeare’s plays, and speaking French.

Here are the lessons those farmers, soldiers and merchants were learning. First, you do not want a leader from one family. There was intermarriage in European families which resulted in medical problems like King George 3rd who probably suffered from a blood disease known as porphyria, or one we know so well -Toulouse Lautrec who suffered the stunted growth of the marriage of first cousins. Many middle eastern nations today can point to 1500 years of intermarriage. Insanity is only one of the possible outcomes of this. We can be glad King George was ill as a more vigorous English King might have won the revolutionary war.

Second, the Americans learned that no group of powerful people should select the nation’s leader.  Oligarchies provided the unfortunate Italians with Nero and Diocletian who left their nation in moral and economic shambles.

Third, they knew their Shakespearean plays, which the 15th century Brits were ribald soap operas based on English history. When Will wrote the tragedies of various Kings, Richard, and a group of Henrys, British play goers saw the history of their nation through these plays and 200 years of Royals murdering each other’s children or other rivals. Richard had 2 young cousins murdered in their beds.

Other rivals found themselves in the Tower of London, last stop before a beheading. The result was years of unrest and the constant threat of war with European nations, especially France. Blood and gore makes for good theater but not for daily life. This issue is one of succession – who will take over after the current leader dies or leaves office? The US Constitution mandates a smooth transfer of power. Of all the unique factors about the Constitutions the peaceful succession is uncommon in other parts of the world

Fourth, a state-mandated religion caused conflict. Henry the 8th we’ve all heard about – he rid himself of 6 wives all because the Roman Catholic church’s Pope said he could not divorce a wife.  But Henry wanted a male heir.

After all these years and wives, God had the last laugh.  A daughter survived and Queen Elizabeth the First managed to give some stability to her nation.  But the conflict between religions continued.  The only cure would be freedom of religion for all, which the wise Americans made not the 2nd or the 3rd amendment to the Constitution, but the first!

The fifth issue involved money. Monopolies lead to unchecked power so leaders with unlimited authority take as much money as they can, (these days they just print it) impoverish the nation, and finance wars, always fought by other people, that is, the people who are not national leaders. To mitigate this the Constitution divides authority into three sections, administration, judicial and legislative.

Then the Legislature is also divided into two parts in most states. This arrangement forces officials on both sides to compromise and if everyone wants the best for the country the result is fairly good law and management. This works so well other nations have copied it.

Seventh, people as individuals must be free to speak, assemble to form clubs and organizations, and to read newspapers and other media without government inference, and be free to move from one state to another.  Only during wartime are their any constraints on the media. There are many “democracies” in the world today but most of them have a controlled press (Russia, China, North Korea), no secret ballot and no ability to move to the city to take a job.

Germany had a state financed Lutheran church until after World War 2. Great Britain still has no “bill of rights” as we do. Many nations are strictly Muslim – Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, and many more. Only state-sanctioned Christian churches are permitted in China and certain doctrinal requirements demanded.  For example, Christian Pastors must teach that all people go to heaven which is absolutely not part of the Holy Bible. No Christian material can be printed in China and the rules against Christians are becoming more onerous, even to the burning down of churches.

We are right to conclude that the world wants to flee their home country for America when you consider how peaceful it is in comparison to other nations but it only works if they leave their failing systems behind and accept and adjust to a new way of viewing government.

Three is a good bit of activity these days to change the Constitution without realizing that every change brings back a problem that was originally recognized and addressed by the Congress that wrote it. Socialism, for example, does not work because it allows a reward for indolence. If our forefathers can learn from others’ mistakes, so should we.





Lawlessness Affects the Church Too

When the Rule of Law deteriorates, it affects everything else.  You’ve heard this one.  “The fish begins to rot from the head down.” For decades now crime is glossed over and punishment is lessened at the head level – in legislatures, city halls and court rooms.

Some sanctuary cities, for example, allow residents without papers to remain even when they are lawbreakers.  They say “we want to protect the ones without papers,” and because of that “we also are protecting those with a criminal record.”

Missing in this is the obvious fact that both groups, the paperless illegals and the felonious illegals are, after all, illegally here.  They are all law breakers and have no legal right to be here.

Fifty years ago we could say all illegal behavior was – you guessed it – a violation of the law.  Now we have gradations of illegality as though that mattered.

Yes, there are reasons ilehakls want to stay in America.  They bought a house; they bought a car; they have a job.  But of course they don’t pay taxes. That means their illegality is costing law abiding citizens money in taxes to pay their way.  They are actually now welfare recipients because the legal residents are paying what they should be paying their rightful share.

But my point is this; what was clearly illegal 50 years ago is now sniffed at. We have variable standards for what it means to be illegal.This double, sometimes triple standard applies to many other groups of people and illegal behaviors. At one time sodomites were jailed – that was as recently as 1940. Today it is legal for them to get married, but of course you must redefine marriage. In 196 t was illegal to kill your baby. Now your neighbor must be required to pay for it.

Everything requires redefinition. What is wrong, what is right, what is partly right, what is only a teeny, weeny wrong – everything changes

This affects the church.  We were taught from the Bible that any kind of sin, no matter how minor, was enough to keep us out of heaven.  Today it takes a really, really bad sin to do that. And there are sinless churches out there – you’all come is their message.  “We don’t expect anything from you.  Everyone here is welcome and everyone goes to heaven- probably.”

But if your church leaders went this way, they threw out the Bible in the process. The plan of salvation is gone; the “if” clauses God has in his word are no longer preached.  In fact, who bothers preaching? Enough to have a simple homily about how God loves you and then we go to lunch.

Here is what is happening. Barna and Pew Research tell us the same thing. Californians are leaving California in droves; and 8% of members are leaving churches too.  Where there is no standard of rightness there is no reason to stay, especially if you are paying for it. Californians are moving to Nevada and Texas; church members are watching TV evangelists or meeting in homes.

California will collapse if this continues. You can expect churches to collapse as well. Standards are the glue that holds people and systems together.  Without it, the groups and systems fall apart with all the nuts and bolts rolling around and the pieces scattered.

When everything can be right, everything can also be wrong. And civil society ends.


Government Health Care – the High Priest of Secular Religion

About 100 years ago Progressive politics started its long climb up as the secular way to replace a morally based government with one founded on the fashionable new Darwinian, evolutionary view of man as strictly an animal with “needs.”  Those needs did not include faith in God if one could replace a morally demanding deity in public life through governmental provision and intervention.

Out of this idea came the socialist then the communist state. In spite of obvious failures in every communist system right up to the 21st century and the fall of Venezuela, and weakness in socialist governments worldwide, devotees to this godless-religious view of life continue undeterred. The coup de grace came 100 years later in 2009 when on Christmas Eve one political party and only one voted to provide government health care.  Only it wasn’t medical care; it was an insurance tax which drained money into the government without allowing anyone but the well-off citizen to pay the ensuing doctor bill.

When only one group supports something you can be sure it won’t fly – and it didn’t. Eventually the high cost sank the project and it was finally eliminated by a new president through management decisions.

But why it represents the crown on the socialist system is our reason to write this. Throughout history every society has placed the highest honor to that person or group which could heal disease or at least ameliorate its effects.  The priests were also expected to turn base metal into gold, and perform essentially magic tricks.  And they could do it – up to a point. Moses’ confrontation with the Pharaoh in Egypt demonstrated that the priests of Ra (and other Egyptian gods) could copy many of God’s demonstrations of power.

Other societies went to witch doctors or cargo cult religious teachings as a substitute for the Great Healer. Jesus  Himself received the most criticism from the Jewish priests for healing – and that on a Saturday!  And that in spite of the fact that they could not copy His successes.

Satan blamed God for treating wealthy, righteous Job with kid gloves, and asked that he (Satan) prove whether Job was a summer soldier. (from The Message.)

Job 1:6-7 One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?”

Satan answered God, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”

God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”

9-10 Satan retorted, “So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does—he can’t lose!

11 “But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”

12 God replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of God.

Satan lost that bet, but Job also lost nearly everything in the process.  His test of faith in the end, however, was rewarded by a restoration of much, and a remarkable increase in wealth as well. In addition Job proved to himself his faith. Self-knowledge is also a valuable commodity.

Have the American voters learned anything? We can certainly hope so.

Dream Interpretation & Biblical Symbolism – new book

Coming soon. YOu will be able to pre order

Complaints about Christianity Being Divisive

Of course Christianity is divisive, and deliberately so.  Genesis One begins with God revealing his creation, that is bringing it into physical being from the ideas he had planned previously. Then He calls for light.  The third verb in this chapter is the word “divide;” He divides light from darkness and notes later that in no case will darkness ever overtake light completely.  Darkness has its place but it is defined.  Light pushes back against Darkness.

But God is not finished with division.  There follows Day from Night, Land from Sea, the separate heavens, men from women, and nations all with their own ethnicity and borders. At the end of the Bible there is the final division of the virgins with oil and those without, then lastly heaven and hell.

God rolls up the universe like a worn out garment and ends the entire thing. He and His creation move into eternal life. Seven thousand years, like a vanishing view in one’s rear view mirror, fades away in time and eventually is forgotten entirely.

Division gives us everything of value.  Not all people are alike; if we all were the same there would be only doctors and no lawyers, housewives and no ballerinas, cooks and no one to build kitchens or farm crops. In fact one of the devil’s chief aims is to make everyone the same.  Of course it doesn’t work because people hate being like everyone else.  Their DNA demands they be different because they are.

The science channel on TV informs me that there are 17 types of beetles in one state park.  I don’t care one bit about beetles but God does; He likes variety.  In all the talk about diversity we forget that God has created a wildly diverse planet, one that even today is thinly explored.

Complainers about Christian divisiveness are those who want to be included in God’s heavenly kingdom without going through the simple process; they want the benefits of God without meeting the regs. People are like that; most high school students would be much happier getting a diploma without having to spend one single day in class. We’d rather play than work or sit and schmooze rather than make something valuable.

It is not merely laziness, although that is a factor.  We just do not want to exert ourselves.  But salvation requires from us a response.  God is not a super salesman trying to force human beings to accept Him and His blessings.  He lays out the plan of salvation and then says, choose.  Will you divide yourself from your sin nature and take on the nature of the redeemed? If God provided for you a physical utopia would you ever bother with him? Probably not.

Teens who grow up in wealthy homes often have not faced the challenges they need to succeed in society; everything has been given to them, and life is too easy. The baby bird pecks his way out of the shell; if someone comes along to open the shell for him, he dies.  The pecking made him stronger.  Resistance training is what my doctor says will make me healthier.  I know he is right, but the gym is two miles away and it is raining! Mankind always has an excuse.

Beware of those who call for unity if it means that you must drop your principles and adhere to theirs. Conflict, when it is civil, results in better decisions.  Un-civil conflict, like a war, also resolves issues but it is a high price to pay.

God’s expectation of us personally is to divide ourselves from darkness, just as it says in Genesis One.  We separate ourselves from people and situations which refuse to change, or bring light into darkness wherever it may be. That may find you ultimately unpopular with some but it protects you and your family  in the long haul.  I was working at a restaurant where someone was routinely robbing the till at the end of the day.  I found another job and gladly left.

You can always make new friends.


“Call me to holiness or don’t call me at all”

Reposted from The Stream. We all love it when another writer is singing our tune as well.

The Balkanization of American Politicians

Contrary to those who have something to sell, God is just as interested in politics as He is in  religion because good government serves the people who are then freer to serve God and each other as opposed to governments which strip their citizens of money and therefore opportunity. It is quite impossible to separate God and religion from politics and national policy because both are based on a belief system.

Since mid-20th century American politics became divided into small, only partially effective single groups, rendering much of the Democrat Party weak and undermining Republican ranks as well. To balkanize is to split into so many pieces as to make ineffective, i.e. to divide and conquer from wildly gerrymandered districts.

It began after World War II when the career ladder of the Democrat Party had been blocked for 16 years.  FDR’s refusal to leave office pushed talented people into the professions, science, industry, banking and law. But Roosevelt had then what we do not have now – a backlog of groups who had genuine interest in the nation’s good and were effective in their prewar day – the early labor unions, the social services groups, and demands for financial reform.  Like all too-long-in-office people he went beyond his own strengths and mandates to which we are now heirs.

The numbers and quality of candidates started to inch downward especially after Kennedy.  You can hardly name a President from that time until Reagan that was able to unify the country despite the legacy of World War II. Lyndon Johnson was a well-disguised crook, Jimmy Carter snoozed, Richard Nixon was paranoid, and nice-guy Gerald Ford finished last. Al these leaders did good things in their time but could not bring people together.

The same thing was happening in some states.  In North Carolina (which I know well) good leaders, and this state is dominated by its Legislature, were steadily replaced by mediocre and then poor ones, leaving the state’s finances in great turmoil.  The State’s FDR was Gov. Jim Hunt who served for 16 years and spent money as though it was other people’s, spawning multiple NGOs which slopped at the public trough and were little more than political action committees financed by state funds. The federal government is also enslaved to this cycle of tax-payer financed interest groups all demanding increases for every budget cycle.  They were legislative creations and only legislatures can get rid of them.

Clinton marked the nadir of talent for governance.  But he did what his base required – he gave the appearance of doing right by all these splinter groups but actually very little, only responding to a political crisis when he could no longer avoid it.  I think of Welfare reform.  Otherwise he did what the God of politics demands – stay in office.  Republicans in contrast have at least had some solid ideas to motivate them and hold them together.

Both parties are increasingly afraid of huge bills in this next election cycle.  Candidates side-step party unity to pick up the strings-attached cash from lobbyists who finance incumbents first.

Good government depends on creating consensus.  If everyone is out for himself demanding campaign cash no long term agreement will be possible and even those thin unions made in one Congress are likely to be mauled in the next one.  We have no one on the legislative scene to unify the country.  Without some major shifts in politics the first 10 years of the 21st century produced insecure leaders, tyrannical taxes, out-of-sight spending and self-absorbed leaders.

But America is moving Right. The newest voters are registering more as independents, avoiding partisanship if they can, and young people repeatedly endorse such old-timey notions as one-marriage, abstinence before marriage, patriotism and moderating of abortion laws. As a teacher I worked with teens and many of them were far more serious minded than the pampered Baby Boomers. Mexicans for all their being wooed by Democrats do not identify with black victimization.

Our military loves FOX news – that will shift even more power to cable news  – and they are even now returning home with facts about the true state of affairs in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen and our international role.  This influence cannot be overstated.  Today’s military leaders will be those who move into major leadership roles in government and industry. And most urgently, voters in 2008, 2010 and 2012 who have been lied to repeatedly will be hard to win back when the facts are finally exposed.  So there is hope.

The scriptures require us to pray for our country – for very selfish reasons.  If our neighbors are happy, healthy and prosperous, we are more likely to be as well, and the burdens of the poor are lessened. When there are enough jobs of a good variety for all kinds of talents and interests everyone benefits. You can look forward to a worldwide religious revival as prosperity inches through the world economy and people are optimistic again.

How People React in a Crisis – China’s 2008 Earthquake Remembered

It was 48 hours before we learned in Inner Mongolia of the extent of the damage due to the earthquake down south. Isolated as we are here in the small town of Daban many people never get the news – the newspaper is actually all advertising circulars – but we now know China is in pain. The government has claimed to be everything – provider, comforter, manager, healer, in fact, “god” but now none of the above.

Thousands of parents will bury a child, if they can find the body at all, and in most cases an Only Child. The 3 Gorges Dam displaced millions of people during its construction and drowned thousands of homes in its path. Now it and other dams in Central China are showing signs of stress. If the 3 Gorges Dam fails, 10 million will be wiped out in a single swoosh.

Food prices have risen 20% and pork has doubled because farmers do not want to waste the grain on the pigs. Taxes, but not wages, have increased in order to fund the glitzy Olympics and all the attendant waste and public show plus billions into the Navy. People notice when their taxes go up and they change behavior. People are angry at each other, and at me too. The country is on edge.

And there have been other aftershocks as well. This week the police demanded that I leave town within 12 hours! I thought it was a scam organized by public and private schools angry over our success. We have run out of teachers and classrooms as we added several classes and many new students. But no – they were serious – no one can pack for overseas in that period of time. After some negotiations a $1,500 fine will be paid to the brigands (i.e. bribe) and I can stay.

The 2nd local aftershock was that the police went to the perfectly legal registered church and confiscated the perfectly legal Bibles – 240 of them – and took them away. We don’t know where they are. Apparently the church members felt they were safe and had not hidden them in their homes. Again, an illegal act because the Constitution of China allows freedom of religion – in theory.

This is the time to pray for China. God wants to comfort the Chinese people.. But He has promised to destroy all idols.

In Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart told Ingrid Bergman that the lives of 2 people “do not amount to a hill of beans.” Missionaries know they do not amount to a hill of beans either – what counts is the gospel and prayer reaches everywhere on the globe. As God would have it I was not forced to leave.

When God promises to destroy all idols, (Exodus 30:13) that includes governments and political leaders who claim to be god. In actual practice, God need do nothing. Over-promising by arrogant leaders will eventually expose their folly. Then men can seek the real God with greater wisdom and humility.

Counterfeit Truth & the Blood of Jesus

Of all things on earth only the blood of Jesus cannot be counterfeited, and much of what we call love, grace, prosperity, health, honesty, humility, you name it, can be fraudulent. Many millions are trapped in false teaching with not a clue that is where they are.

Some people are wildly offended by the idea that blood has some bearing on one’s sins. But consider what we have here.

1. God established early on the blood sacrifice was the acceptable way to reach Him. Originally the Jews were given a series of yearly steps for the sacrifice of animals and told specifically that one’s children were unacceptable as a blood sacrifice.

Gen 22 2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.) God substituted a ram instead of the son, and demonstrated that eventually God Himself would provide a blood sacrifice which is Jesus.

2. There is plenty of blood available. Both animals and birds have blood, and in the Old Testament they are occasionally used as sacrifices.

3. Human beings have @10 pints of blood, but it is not acceptable to God because men and women are sinners. In this way, if not for dozens of others, we know that Islamites cannot die for their religion, receive forgiveness and heaven. Muslims are sinners too; the blood of their innocent children is unacceptable so when they strap bombs on their children they are committing murder.

4. And this is the important point – Satan himself cannot find a blood sacrifice as a substitute.

5. Jesus’ blood came from a Holy Father.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

6. The blood type comes from the father not the mother. The father of Jesus is God Himself, the holiest blood of all.

7. When Jesus shed His blood, he not only won back the universe from the devil he foiled all attempts of the devil to provide a substitute.

1 Corinthians 2:7-9 …..the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

When Satan promoted the death of Jesus he sealed his own permanent fate which God, it says in this passage, had devised from the beginning.

That is why Jesus had to die by shedding of blood – a gun, a noose, drowning, suffocation – none of these would do the job.