The Book of Mormon (stage show) and Demonic Attack

I was innocently changing channels when I heard this song -the words, curses and demons -met my ear.  Since this is something I know about, I stopped to listen. A man is singing about how demons are attacking his mind – guilt, fear, anger, revenge, homosexuality, regret, confusion, lying, for starts. He is told to turn it off by his Mormon leader.

It doesn’t work, and it is not supposed to work.  Mental disciple is important but getting rid of demons is not only deliberate mind control.  Demons are spirit beings and must be dealt with by the Spirit of man through the Spirit of God. The answer is not in the Book of Mormon or any other man-made book.

Here are the lyrics of this song.

ELDER MCKINLEY
I got a feelin’ that you could be feelin’
A whole lot better than you feel today
You say you got a problem…well, that’s no problem!
It’s super easy not to feel that way
When you start to get confused because of thoughts in your head –
Don’t feel those feelings – hold them in instead!

Turn it off!
Like a light switch
Just go ‘click’!
It’s a cool little Mormon trick
We do it all the time

When you’re feeling certain feelings that just don’t seem right
Treat those pesky feelings like a reading light –

And turn ’em off!
Like a light switch
Just go ‘bap’!
Really, what’s so hard about that?
Turn it off!
Turn it off!

ELDER CHURCH
When I was young, my Dad would treat my Mom real bad
Every time the Utah Jazz would lose
He’d start a-drinkin’, and I’d start a-thinkin’
How’m I gonna keep my Mom from getting abused?
I’d see her all scared and my soul was dyin’!
My Dad would say to me, ‘Now don’t you dare start crying!’

Turn it off!
Like a light switch
Just go ‘flick’!
It’s our nifty little Mormon trick!
Turn it off!
Turn. It. Off!

ELDER THOMAS
My sister was a dancer, but she got cancer
The doctor said she still had two months more
I thought she had time, so I got in line
For the new iPhone at the Apple Store
She laid there dying with my Father and Mother
Her very last words were, “Where is my brother?”

Turn it off! (Yeah!)
Bid those sad feelings adieu!
The fear that I might get cancer too…

[laughter]

ELDER MCKINLEY
When I was in fifth grade, I had a friend Steve Blade (Oooh, Steve Blade…)
He and I were close as two friends could be (We could be close…)
One thing led to another, and soon I would discover (Wow!)
I was having really strange feelings for Steve…
I thought about us on a deserted island (We’re all alone…)
We’d swim naked in the sea, and then he’d try and –

Woah! Turn it off!
Like a light switch
There it’s gone! (Good for you!)
My hetero side just won!
I’m all better now
Boys should be with girls – that’s Heavenly Father’s plan
So, if you ever feel you’d rather be with a man –
Turn it off!

ELDER PRICE
Well, Elder McKinley, I think it’s okay that you’re having gay thoughts. Just so long as you never act upon them.

ELDER MCKINLEY
No, ’cause then you’re just keepin’ it down
Like a dimmer switch on “low”… (On “low”…)
Thinking nobody needs to know (Uh oh…)
But that’s not true!
Being gay is bad, but lying is worse
So just realize you have a curable curse –
And turn it off! (Turn it off!)
Turn it off!

Turn it off!

Now, how do you feel?

ELDER PRICE
The same.

ELDER MCKINLEY
Then you’ve only got yourself to blame
You didn’t pretend hard enough
Imagine that your brain is made of tiny boxes
Then find the box that’s gay and CRUSH IT!
Okay?

ELDER PRICE
No, no…I’m not having gay thoughts!

ELDER CUNNINGHAM
Alright! It worked! (Yay!)

He turned it off…
Turn it off…
Turn it off!
Turn it off! (Turn it off!)
Like a light switch
Just go ‘click’! (Click click!)
What a cool little Mormon trick (Trick trick!)
We do it all the time!

When you’re feelin’ certain feelings that just don’t seem right
Treat those pesky feelings like a reading light
And turn it off!
Like a light switch on a cord
And now he isn’t gay any –

Turn it, turn it, turn it, turn it…
Turn it, turn it, turn it, turn it…
Tuuuuuurn it…
Turn it off!
…Off!!!

First, feelings have nothing to do with it.  Demons create the negative feelings of lust, or envy, rage, the list goes on.  The devil’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy you with evil thoughts and emotions.

How do you react?  Immediately you eliminate contact with the problem source.  If you are watching porn, then make a covenant with your eyes, a term from the book of Job, and never watch again.  You can set your compute to warn you or eliminate that.

More importantly you must recognize that the devil, the enemy of your soul, is out there looking for ways to destroy you at any point where you let evil take over your mind.  If it is music stop that too.  If you have unsavory friends, get better friends.

But the best warfare is to say out loud (the bathroom is a good place for this as others might not think this is cool) and say the following as loudly as you can.

“Satan get off my back and out of my life.  I know who you are and what you are doing in Jesus name flee from me and never come back.”  Then announce the troubles he is causing,

People ask me, why the loud voice?  Because demons will pretend to be deaf.  And if you shout, you sound mad  If you whisper a rebuke no one will take you seriously.

My daughter had a terrible stomach ache when she was in elementary school.  She went to the girls room and shouted just as I have instructed you.  You do not need to be 12 to do this; you can be any age.  The authority of Jesus’ name does not depend on your age or status.  Be aggressive.  What about “steal, kill and destroy” sounds passive to you?

Tell the devil off whenever you need and this will clean up your mind and your life.  But turning something off simply won’t work.  If it did work it would be in the Bible.

God is Never Surprised

God said He knew the end before the beginning.

Isaiah 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Some theologians surmised that meant he controlled every event, every word, every thought even down to individual sins according to this scripture. Well “stuff and nonsense” said Mary Poppins. You do get away with a lot of things, but telling God He is responsible for your sins, at least not until after you are saved, is wrong.

Blaming God my mother told me was a “Bad Attitude.”  But what it does mean is even more important. If we sit on God’s shoulders we have an opportunity to view the world, its systems and its history from the long view. This put us in a place of safety; we cannot be hurt by anything there.

At the same time we have a chance to see the hand of God. He cannot be held responsible for our various sins of commission and omission but we see him moving the affairs of men forward. I saw this in the five hour wedding video of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the majestic pageantry of the Brits for which they are rightly proud – and profitable.

Of all the surprises we have a California child of a black mother and a white father who makes a name for herself as an actress and philanthropist and meets the 2nd son of the Queen of England. It’s a modern and charming love story and a prototype of improbability.

But I saw something else. I saw that Prince Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, was a over-indulged man, very like his self-absorbed uncle who abdicated the British throne.  That turned out to be a huge blessing to Western civilization as Elizabeth’s father became king and was serious about doing the job as his brother Edward demeaned.

This man born to be king was ill equipped to handle the job but then he marries.  In fact he was forced to marry by his mother and give up his mistress because the throne needed an heir and a spare as the Brits call it. Enter the kindest, most people-loving woman in Britain, Diana Spencer who became the mother of two boys who transferred her personality to the British throne.

Now two people will be able to join the American zeal for individualism and equality before the law with the zeal to reform charitable institutions and make them effective in saving whole groups of people in their problems – wounded warriors, lands without clean water, games and opportunities for small children and others whose names Americans would not know.

If you think this is quaint nonsense, watch some Shakespeare or read English history.  Most of the kings of England have been no great prize.  Because of this, massive numbers of disaffected people hopped on a ship and went to America or Australia.

Or consider the irrational King Richard the Third who no doubt murdered two young men who had claim to the throne, dying himself at age 32 in battle.  Several hundred years of royal infighting ensued.

Then consider today – we have two royal heirs committed to the most generous and loving view of their citizens whose nation recognizes them as “royal.”  Now doesn’t that sound like God moving the pieces on the board?

Unlike us, God takes the long view.  What is 1480 to Him and now? What is 600 years to him?  A wisp in the night. We can learn from this to always ask God what is your opinion is this thing – not mine, not the media, not the politicians, but God’s? He has a plan and hopefully you are in the middle of it too. Ask Him.

Drowning in Ignorance

American thinkers (lower case) often ask, how did we manage to have the mental giants all on the same page when they wrote our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution?

Because whatever it was, the body politic has lost it. Soros’ money may have paid for a decade of protest, riots and looting but why are younger generations doing it at all? Don’t they know their roots? It would never occur to Boomers or their elders to wear a vagina suit in public or question their gender.

Time has come to resurrect two mid-20th century prophets, Allan Bloom (The Closing of the American Mind – How Higher Education has failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students) 1987 and E.D Hirsch, Jr. (Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know) 1988. They defined the problem.

The Impoverished Souls once in the academy are now running the public schools and the Media

Our wise forefathers had one unifying factor – their common knowledge of the King James Bible and the works of Shakespeare.  The War of the Roses demonstrated that monarchies do not work, that succession by bloodlines leads to internecine warfare, that assorted King Richards lurk in the shadows to murder their rivals, that foreign wives are anathema as God said to King Solomon, that too much power in one group, be it the barons on the plain or the rabble beyond the pale would sound a death sentence to a Republic. To guard against any concentration of power in any section of the government they included checks and balances and a bicameral system.

Ben Franklin said we’d inherited a Republic if we could keep it.  “Ben, if you are listening, these kids don’t know what a republic is.” So when Saddam Hussein was protected in the Gulf War by a Republican Guard Democrat voters thought that was our own Republican Party?

Our forefathers also knew Plato and Socrates. The notion of a moral leader taking the political high ground from Aristotle sounds quaint today. They knew bias against color and creed in Othello, the dangers of nepotism, bad judgment and the influence of emotional instability from King Lear and Hamlet and as a final warning, Shakespeare named his historical works “tragedies” so yes, it could happen to you too. Tragedies, as defined by the Greeks, were demonstrations of how a personal moral or character flaw could destroy a person in power not the modern day definition which is little more than “oh, what a pity.”

They knew that Protestant Huguenots had been slaughtered on St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572, so religious freedom was essential. As they wrote these documents they saw the collapse of France from unchecked monetary policy and a politicized state church, and from Elizabeth the First the bedrock need for a free press as well as free assembly, the core of the 1st Amendment, not the Second or Third but the very First. And yes – if we should perchance by accident or design inherit one of these rotten leaders, we need our firearms.

The national mind during the 19th century was held together until the end of World War 2 by the glue of the widely read Harvard Classics. This Public Religion, to use George Will’s phrase, is not a collection of “good ideas” but a record of the failure of Europe to stabilize, as it has yet to do even today. And because they were all originally from immigrant stock they knew Primogeniture and Entail were legal locks on personal and corporate progress. The EPA ties up our property instead now! The glaring millennium of mistakes in Europe created our national principles.

But millions today, thanks to redacted history books and influences from Communist writers like Howard Zinn, leave us with myriads not knowing a shred about all this. We have two or three generations of classroom teachers trained without the cultural literacy of any American assumptions. As a final nail in the academic coffin, there is neither Bible reading nor prayer in schools, so any literary reference to a Prodigal Son or allusions to the Hebrew Bible fall on puzzled ears.  The national division today is not between Republican and Democrat, black and white or rich and poor, but between those who know the origins of the past and those who have a new version of history seen through the lens of moral relativism.

Lincoln quoted Psalm 19 in his Second Inaugural Address; but who knew? Last Friday I watched a few minutes of Washington Week; I started laughing and changed the channel.  We are drowning in ignorance.

(revised.)

Cures for Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is not my problem.  In fact I barely have enough time to write.  So let me offer some ideas to motivate and inspire you.  Not all are new but hearing them again should help us all.

  1. Keep a notebook. The little ones fall apart and the big ones are too bulky. Try a 5”x8” spiral binding for jotting down words, facts, observation and opinions. This week a TV reporter said, “He was too competitive to make friends.”  Ah-ha.! Add envy, jealousy, alcohol, and you have the start of a story, a failed marriage or a mystery plot.  Staple related notes together and store them near your keyboard.  If inspiration is lacking, read them until something pops into place.  {60% of all Americans prefer the color blue.  Write it down.}  Add new words then look them up online.  This week I saw the name Torquemada applied to a politician; when I researched this I was shocked to learn the author had smacked the man with a major insult.
  2. Not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers.  You’ll not fail to get an idea from everything you read.  Underline or post-it flag pages if you own the book.  Reading forces you to think differently about a subject.
  3. Keep a schedule. I use Microsoft Excel to record Who got What When plus follow-up dates.  No sale? On to the next editor.  The rejection letter can lead to despair so ignore emotions and realize rejection is “the cost of doing business” and move on.  As to your personal schedule, note when you do your best work, 4-6 a.m., 10-1, 3-6 or 9 to midnight, whatever – then stick to it.
  4. Select your market. This isn’t buckshot.  I was once an agent for an artist who draws newsmakers but never celebrities. I wasted no postage on US or People Magazines. Read market information carefully and get to know editors by name.  None of this “Dear You-All” unless the editor’s name is not given which occurs occasionally.
  5. Blogs are free. You can post previously published material or work not for sale.  Include a copyright statement and your picture.  You want them to know you are a real person.  At the end of your submission letter you can state, “Please see my blog for additional writing samples.”  If you are computer-challenged there are online courses in web creation.  Try ed2go.com to find a college in your area.
  6. Submission letter. Include everything – name, snail and email addresses, Twitter, Facebook and day phone, plus your Pay Pal account for a quick payment option.
  7. My contact list includes the following – an artist who works solely with children, a former boss now a Congressperson, and a friend who was a private cop for Neiman-Marcus.  If there is a hole in your work, your contact list may help with details.
  8. Find an editor-friend who will troll for typos. They slip through when we read our own work. Trade off skills here.  What can you do for them?
  9. Do some Freebie work. Many years ago I wrote an Op-Ed for a large daily.  Two weeks later an editor phoned with a part-time job.  This became my best training ground.
  10. Stumble on! This is an internet aid. You list your interests with them so when you are bored and need a break, hit the Stumble button for sites in your fields.
  11. Formal classes at night are available everywhere.  The best class is where you learn from more experienced students.  Writing classes are OK but you will probably learn more from general areas.  My most mind-expanding class was Medical Geography which demonstrated how geography and the diseases in an area affect culture and history. Think how that would influence your work.
  12. The red-wine secret. Unless you are under a deadline, let your writing mature then re-read it when you have forgotten most of it. The sediments will jump out at you, and maybe some new ideas will have percolated into your brain.

Finally there is one more thing to deal with – procrastination.  Set up a disciplinary system.  If you don’t start on time, if you dawdle, snooze or watch TV, or any number of other diversions, punish yourself.

NO Dove bar for you at 3 p.m.  And be consistent about that.  Writing is like watching your weight; you have to do it anyway.

The Borders of the Mind

For a large troop of Americans, 2009 to 2016 was a stop action movie where figures are frozen in time waiting for something to happen, for someone to flip a switch so they could return to the business of life, or for that matter any kind of business. It reminded me of the Apple advertisement of 1984 when brain-dead sycophants goose-stepped to oblivion and technology crashed through to wake them up.

And then schazam! Candidate Trump, the exact opposite of what would be chosen by Central Casting comes on the scene slaughtering sacred cows right and left, and leaving us in the valley of decision.  This is the designated time in our personal or private history where we decide which side we are on. A parade of miscreants and arrogant managers paraded across our screens, the old panegyrics about Obama were either hotly but ineffectively defended by his supporters, and the truth about almost every conceivable misdeed for decades was exposed.  And that not by President Trump, but simply by someone “being there.” Every accuser met some hide of personal ax.

While the President was out glad-handing international power brokers and luring dissident employers back home, 20 plus Congresspersons left office and at least that many men who could not keep their zippers up or their mouths closed were cleaning out their desks. The Media, reading in unison from a teleprompter in LaLa land focused on Russian chicanery and found it in Hillary’s own documents, along with the supposedly squeaky clean FBI – like Squeaky Fromme?

We know What, and soon we will know much more, but Why? Because the voting public needs to have secure borders of their minds as well as the national jurisdiction. But for that they needs facts and truth; as the media grinds on, thre appears to be less and less of them.

Everything is not good and right. Everyone is not supposed to be here. Every theology, every philosophy, every governmental system and every opinion is not equal. Every decision is not right or conversely, is not wrong. The popular relativism leads nowhere and is a mental squirrel cage of circular thinking.  Cultures are not equal, and societies and governments are not morally equivalent as any even sloppy examination would demonstrate. To abdicate responsibility is still a decision.

We must know who we are and what we are supposed to do.  We have decided not to be the world’s 911 police radio.  We have decided not to let everyone immigrate here just because they want to be Americans.  We have decided that we need to handle some problems ourselves, like the opioid crisis, like the problem of nearly one half our criminals in prison being illegals, or states which show contempt for the federal government by creating statuary cities, all issues which we allegedly solved at the Battle of Gettysburg.  States rights we have yes; States wrongs, no.

The next elections are not so much about Donald Trump in spite of Media hype to that effect. It is about us.  Will we accept the truth and become free, or walk away from our own generation’s responsibility. I am staying in the fight for America.  Are you?

Who is Not Going to Church

Pew and Barna Research groups keep up a continuous study of religious actions and beliefs in the USA.  Their data shows that 40% of those under 30 identify as having no religious affiliation; Roman Catholic attendance is down to 21% and Protestant to 15%.  This puts church attending believers as a minority in America.

There are two main groups now, “nones” and “somes.” The Nones do not affiliate with any religious tradition, simply calling themselves Christian or atheist etc. “Somes” on the other hand will take part in an occasional religious service or event. Both of these groups do subscribe to a moral tradition.

But so does most everyone else. The Buddhist Chinese mother teaches her tots the same things as an American Christian mother; share your toys, don’t beat up your playmates, be on time, say please and thank you, learn to respect authority, be honest with yourself and others, hard work pays off, etc. These are behavior-based ethical principles. That’s not all that hard! And because they aren’t hard they are easily ignored. It might be called Christian socialism.

Pew also identified “feral” Christians, those who subscribe to moral Christian values but no doctrines which reflects many other go-along, get-along people who behave without asking too many questions about why they do what they do.

If Facebook is to be believed many semi-believers look at people and think that is what church is and that their moral strictures are personally directed against individuals.But the Church stands against evil not people. The church has nothing against Islamic people, but those who strap bombs on small children deserve all the condemnation one can heap.

No church should have a problem with black or brown individuals, but when  they riot and vandalize stores, they deserve to be called criminals and sinners as well.

When groups of people make evil the core of their lives and doctrines, then the church has both the right and the responsibility to call them out. God saves individuals, not groups. No one goes to hell because he was born with any color skin; no one goes to heaven because he is a member of a particular religion.

These are natural and cultural realities. God is spirit and must be worshiped in spirit and in truth. Racism comes from the fallen inner nature of mankind not related to the spirit of either man or God.

But, now here is the rub; true Christianity is not about behavior or externals, but an internal transformation of the person, inside out. And that is hard. To recognize one’s failure to meet one’s own standards, or those of society, much less religion eventually weighs heavily.

According to the Bible no one gets to heaven being good, or “meaning well.” But then again many do not think life after death is a big deal. Indifference is just as big a killer as unbelief.

It is true that if churches taught what the Bible actually says, many people would no longer go.  The US Congress has toyed with the idea of making church donations no longer tax deductible which would certainly separate sheep from goats quickly enough. It would cleanse the church of those who think they are getting their ticket punched for the afterlife.

The Bible said that before the second coming of the Lord, the angels would gather the wheat into a storehouse and the tares, intended to be burned, in another barn.  Maybe that is what is happening here.  We are being separated for the judgment.

 

 

 

Can You Bear New Revelation?

In John 16:12 Jesus says, “I have many things to say to you but you cannot bear them.”   The word bear here means to carry.  It does not mean tolerate, although there are many people who cannot tolerate the Bible under any circumstances.  But I am not writing to them.

He said this the day before he died, during his last meal where presumably he had important things to say.  He did not say, “Are you ready” although that is implied.  He used the verb “to bear.”  Or to carry.  To carry means that there is a responsibility for the new information, either for yourself or for others.  God put us Christians here to benefit both ourselves and others with His truth.

There is a burden involved in revelation whether it is the new Christian who suddenly finds himself avoided by all his old friends, or someone who is old in the Lord speaking something others do not want to hear.

Just 3 weeks ago my boss who is a left-wing Democrat and a supporter of abortion told me with a straight face that it was not a “baby” until the day it was born – just tissue.  I said, sarcastically, “Oh, so it is only tissue you see sucking its thumb in the womb?”  She just laughed.

Of course she would!  To take another position would forever alter her world.  She was named Democrat of the year and holds an office as party attorney.  If she changed her position she would lose all that – not to mention her husband’s views which match hers – and gain the contempt and isolation of these same people that created her identity for her.  Revelation and the support of truth cost something.  Even if she believed this she would pay a price for revealing it!  One’s identity should not be created by others= but by God.

The Bible says, “There is no defense against the Truth.”  But at the same time, there is a price to pay for advancing it.  I’ve been fired for it!  But that is a price I am prepared to pay because Jesus said,

If you deny me before men, I will deny you before the father.  So instead of changing my revelation, I changed churches.   Matt 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

But before we start counting the cost of new revelation from God, let us count the cost of not knowing the truth, a much higher price.  In an extreme form, there is Islam.  Muslims who convert to Christianity are routinely murdered, and not just in the last 10 years.  This has been common all over Asia.

Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—

“My people perish for lack of knowledge” is a literal truth.  Beethoven wrote some of the finest Christian music in the western world.  He agonized over why he was losing his hearing and hoped that after his death people would learn the truth.  Some of his hair had been saved by admirers – saving hair was common in previous centuries – and it was tested a few years back.  He died of lead poisoning cause by his favorite pewter utensils.

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

Now we have to ask this, as a believer did the Holy Spirit ever speak to him and say, “Trash the pewter dishes?”  We don’t know, but the ignorance did kill.  We do not need to wait for secular man to learn the truth; lead poisoning was a modern discovery, but that does not hamper the Lord.  We have access to all truth!  But can we bear it?

The reverse side of this coin is that God uses ignorance to keep people in line until they can bear something new.  As mothers we tossed the young’uns in a play pen to keep them safe, and not let them get under foot as we worked.  Ignorance is God’s box for human kind.

They spin their wheels on 2nd rate issues and because they are busy with small things they fail to mess up Kingdom business.  A California seminary years back evaluated various mission programs as devised and executed by a group of denominations.  Their conclusion? Not one of these programs succeeded.  How about asking God what He wants to do?  And then doing that.  Every religious man can come up with a good idea.  But good ideas do not necessarily further God’s will; only God’s will does.

Millions waste their money on gambling, or sports or mindless TV – all boxes of ignorance that while doing them no favors, at least keeps them out of the Master’s way.  And God also used ignorance to further His own purposes.  Years ago Billy Graham’s high school girl friend was told by her mother that Billy “wouldn’t amount to anything”  so what people have to say means nothing in the end.  It is only God’s word and God’s call.

23 years ago the Lord spoke to me directly and told me I was not to explain myself. Practically everywhere I went people pressed me for information but I kept quiet.

I thought – oh well – that won’t last for ever.  But I was wrong.  I am still not permitted to do so, except with a very small number who have shown me that if I do speak, they will actually listen.  It has been, for someone who loves words, the toughest assignment of my life.  And I am still learning.

Today many churches do not even get milk – they are dying on diet coke and Twinkies.  Most other churches are on junior foods.  Can you bear something new?

You will find portions os this as a chapter in an e-book on apologetics at Amazon, Book Baby, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and other vendors.

Are there Animals in Heaven?

And our cats and horses too.

Simple answer: Of course.  Longer answer.   Heaven is a perfect environment for God’s people.  It is some kind of treacherous lie that we are stuck playing harps.  Even at best, David played a guitar and that might be the instrument of choice.  Flying round on clouds makes a good cartoon but it hardly does justice to the nature of human beings.  When we are saved, our sin nature is over ridden by the holiness of God which is our life’s goal, but after death, all those conflicts are eliminated and people can flourish as individuals.  Do you want to take trumpet lessons? Violin?  Maybe you want to walk on the bottom of the sea?  Try to think outside the confining box of the earth.  Your imagination can run wild.

A woman on the 700 Club “died” and went to heaven; the doctors pulled her back.  While there she saw Johnny Cash and June Cash singing away….just as you would expect them to do esp. since this woman lived in Nashville, Tennessee.

In fact, a surprising number of people have been to heaven (and also hell) and back.  Their testimonies are very much alike.  You can find good (and foolish) testimonies on YouTube and on the internet.  But you know how to judge false from true – look at what the Bible says.  God’s truth does not conflict with His Word.

One popular book, Heaven is for Real, will be made into a movie.  One little 5 year old boy after being pulled back from death was asked what he saw, and he said, “PUPPIES.”  If I were God and a little boy suddenly showed up in my heaven, I would provide him with a pile of puppies.  Wouldn’t you?  A pile of cute puppies would keep a tot laughing and rolling around for hours.

Kat Kerr author of Revealing Heaven is a conference speaker, who has available tapes for sale, and you can find her books on Amazon cheaply priced.  Her eye-witness accounts are superior to my suppositions and can quickly be checked.  Sid Roth is a Jew with a parade of speakers and videos which often touches on heaven-hell testimony.  There are amazing testimonies of Muslims who have had visions of heaven, hell and Jesus.  Try a BING search to locate these, or YouTube.  (I don’t use Google because they feature their preferences which are non-Christian and pro-left wing at the top of the findings.)

In seminary I told my pastor’s wife, when I get to heaven I want to be in charge of the zoo.  She looked at me as though I was crazy.  Here is the secret about heaven.  God put us on earth to get used to some of the elements of heaven which are so much better, so much nicer, and so much more glorious.  We do not give up the great things of this our Father’s World; we simply see them untouched by sin and without limitations for them or for us.

The truth will set you free? not really . . .

Christians confuse being saved with being Christian.  Salvation is God’s business and requires only a repentant heart and a confession.  (The heart believes unto righteousness and confession is made unto salvation.  Romans 10:10)  That’s an event.  No law or laws apply to this simple transaction – my sins for Jesus’ sacrifice.

However the Christian life is not an event but a process which involves the fulfillment of various conditions, a process which starts with a group of “If” clauses describing the conditions by which we become Christians and live a Christian life through experience, practice and faithfulness.

It starts with the Word.  Here is the whole quote and the process in context:

(1) IF you continue in my word, (2) then you are my disciples in deed (not in word) and (3 then) you will know the truth and (4 then) the truth will make (not set) you free.

“Setting free” is an event; you are in prison and someone comes with a key to open a door and you walk out.  “Making” you free is a process which continues over a period of time because the Truth is Jesus himself – “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

It is quite possible to halt that process at any time for many reasons. Unfortunately the opposite is often true.  You are saved and then sit somewhere, occasionally a pew, and learn virtually nothing about the word, so you skirt discipleship and the truth  It might be presented to you but not followed,  and whatever freedom you once had wicks away like a much-used plastic air freshener.

Here are some examples from my experience.  “I don’t believe that.”  I  remember hearing this after I got the baptism in the Holy Spirit.  These gifts  are thoroughly described and recommended in scripture, but then a denomination or well-known teacher says this is not for today and it is easier to let someone else do your Christian walk for you, to sit, soak, and sour in your former theology rather than to move along with the Word. At that point you become a disciple in word but not in deed.  The truth, that is Jesus, having been rejected moves on. Hesitate to say what you don’t believe in – maybe God has something new for you.

I told God when I graduated with a MA in missions that I didn’t care what denominations and groups did in the mission field; I wanted to be where He was moving and working.  It meant that the majority of my coworkers thought my ideas were off the wall.  My superiors said flatly “We are not going into mainland China.”  It took 12 years for me to get to China but it was worth the wait and, in spite of my impatience, the timing was perfect.  How much more quickly accepted I was!

Writing off China (7 out of 10 earthlings live there) looks so totally foolish today doesn’t it!  But that is what Man does –  not sinful man, not satanic man, but self-willed and not-God-willed Man.   Missions committees are helpful in their way but not the word in which we continue.

Christian life promises freedom at the end, not in the beginning.  So let’s paraphrase this verse:

After you have been soaking in the Word of God and have walked out in your life many of its principles, and having proved your discipleship, then Jesus, the Truth will become a part of your personal life and will continue to make you free day-by-day.  Enoch did this – so can you.

French: Vous connaîtrez la vérité, et la vérité fera de vous des hommes libres.

Chinese: 你 们 必 晓 得 真 理 , 真 理 必 叫 你 们 得 以 自 由 。

You will find this as a chapter in an e-book on apologetics at Amazon, Book Baby, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and other vendors.

Apostate = the wrong way

In junior high I had a good Catholic friend at a time when the Roman church taught that Protestants were going to hell because they were “apostates.”  (The church gave up those notions in time.)  What the Pope meant was this – you have rejected the standards and teaching of this denomination.

Apostate comes from two Greek words – “apo,” which means away from, and “stat” the root for state, or standard from which we get words like Pakistan, and station.    Martin Luther entitled his opposition to church doctrine, Here I Stand, a new theological position.  In brief Luther’s stand was this – faith is not a body of man-made laws, or even the words and works of the finest historical minds of the Western Church.  By faith alone in God’s word we are saved – period.

So much for theology.  What does this mean in real life?  Last year a friend told me about an elderly woman who was sorry, even guilty for the shabby way she had treated her brother’s wife; she felt she had contributed to their divorce.  So now she supports the new wife as her way of compensating for her previous mistakes.

This is an example of apostate behavior.  Not doing it God’s way. (PS It is not a denominational thing at all.)

The Bible says if you have sinned against someone you go to that person and ask for forgiveness. (Matt 5:23) It is not a complicated process.  You don’t substitute kind and generous behavior to a totally different and unrelated person as a way of dealing with your own sin.  Simply put – the apostate substitutes his word for God’s and since we only have the Bible to know God’s way, we must go back to it for our standards.

There is a way that seems right to man but the way thereof is death.  (Prov 14:12) Without God’s way there are no God-results.  It doesn’t affect heaven and hell but it does improve life here and places you in line for His blessings.

Galatians says we are no longer under the law if we walk in the spirit, but we are to observe “ordinances.” There is a specific order in which things are done in a Godly manner.   A friend once said she was baptized as a child; I reminded her that the Bible says, “repent and be baptized,” (Acts 2:38) NOT `”be baptized and repent.”  She laughed and was baptized along with 100 other people in a giant swimming pool that afternoon.  Was she required to do this to be saved?  Of course not, but there are benefits in the spirit for doing things “decently and in order.”  (1 Corinthians 14:40)

2 Corinthians 13:5 says examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.  Here is a chance to read the Bible looking for Divine Order.  There may be a problem in the way things have been done in your past.  How simple to find the clues and redo it once again in the proper order.  If so, you will grow.

You will find this as a chapter in an e-book on apologetics at Amazon, Book Baby, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and other vendors.