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Truth or Trump?

I recently saw a headline that 43% of evangelicals think Donald Trump should be removed from office.  We know others who have declared him to be a modern-day Cirrus. I’ve had different opinions at different times but honestly,

I’ve never met the man. 

All I know is what I see, hear and read in the media.  

I write a blog for the Adventures in Missions GAP year squad that we coach called The Squirrel Pole.  A squirrel pole is a survival food trap that I learned about when I was a US Marine. 

Its based on the idea that everything in nature naturally takes the path of least resistance.  A squirrel is perfectly capable of running straight up a tree.  But place branch laden with wire nooses at an angle against the trunk and the stupid squirrel will hang itself every time.

Another squirrel poll upon which people hang themselves is the reliance on others to do their thinking for them.

I used to trade world currencies on the FOREX.

That’s when I learned the world is not the world I had learned about in school. It makes sense. The father of lies is the god of it.

As it turns out the average American’s world view is shaped by a media whose narrative is controlled by six corporations. That’s not just so called “fake news”. That’s all news.

The first thing I learned as a trader was, know your own biases, do your own analysis and emotion is the enemy of analysis. 

People are easily manipulated by what is commonly known as confirmation bias. Brokers leverage confirmation bias to take money away from nonprofessional traders who dream of getting rich quick.

They call these nonprofessionals “dumb money”.

This is how it works. The broker begins by “pumping” a stock or other financial instrument through internet and television. They tell everyone why “you’d better hurry before it’s too late because this one is a sure thing!” Dumb money is looking for a sure thing and hearing “it’s a sure thing” confirms what they want to hear. So, dumb money rushes in to buy before the price goes up. Of course, this drives the price up at warp speed. Dumber money tries to jump on the “moving train” and the price goes up faster until it hits a target predetermined by the broker who probably owns the biggest chunk.

When it hits the mark, the broker might short the stock or buy an “option” before closing his original position and collecting the profit. Of course, some of the dumb money sees the price action, panics and sells before they lose everything. That makes the price drop faster and more people jump off the “moving train” and sell to cover their losses. When the price gets low enough the original broker reverses his position and collects the profit from that trade too. This goes on all day every day that markets are open. What is important to understand is that media drama moves markets. While the public separates into tribes, fights with each other over what they believe is the correct moral side of what they think is the real issue; smart money is busy making money.

For example, gun control is always hot button issue pumped by the press. In June 2016 Barack Obama talked about a possible assault weapons ban. The media pumped a false pending executive order narrative. Guess what happened next? Gun lovers panicked. Assault weapons and ammunition sales went through the roof. Smart money made money again.

Confirmation bias makes lying easy. Confirmation bias makes us easy to manipulate.

World leaders have always used it to manipulate populations for their own gain.

Paul Joseph Goebbels was Adolf Hitler’s Minister of propaganda said;

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Know your own confirmation biases.

Otherwise you’re sure to get played.

Why am I telling you all this in a missionary blog?

Adolf Hitler had motto.

“He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.”

There is a huge cultural and spiritual war in progress for the hearts and minds of the generation that many of us refer to as youth. Some of you are youth.

The winner gets to determine “Truth”

Deception is the Devil’s number one game.

And Your emotions are a primary tool in Hell’s efforts to manipulate and control you.

In Mat 22 people were trying to trap Jesus into making a political statement about taxation, politics, and Rome so they could kill him.  It was a total set up.  But Jesus wasn’t dumb. Cesar’s image was on the money. So He said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s. 

 The question is; who’s image do you bear? 

If it’s God’s then shouldn’t you be rendering all of yourself onto Him?

I recently heard a preacher ask; “Why do we get so upset when we see the world acting like the world?”  That’s what the world does.  Even more; why are we so focused on changing the world by worldly means? 2 Tim 3 seems clear. Things are going to get worse before they get better. As Christians we are called to be in the world not of it. We are called to be Holy which means “set apart”.  We can argue politics all day.  But it doesn’t change anything. It only divides and divided kingdoms don’t stand.

By all means render onto Cesar what is Cesar’s and vote. Just be aware of your own confirmation bias and your own unreliable emotions.

That said, Jesus was clear.  He said “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me”. John 14:6  

Christians are ruining their witness everyday by getting angry over politics. Meanwhile PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HELL.

If you ask me we need to be telling people who Truth is and stop wasting our time fighting over who Trump is. 

At the end of the day we’re all dumb money when it comes to that.

Don’t be a Squirrel

The Most Incredible Woman

And walking in Joseph’s shoes

There is an amazing woman here in Honduras. Today is her birthday and I have nothing to give her so I thought I would tell you all just a little about her. I’ve learned more from her than any other human being on earth. She is tough, obedient to God, and has an immovable faith. She is a living epistle of Truth, love, and the compassion of Jesus Christ. She is always available even when it’s uncomfortable, always willing, always stops for the one.

Her best days, the ones that most fill her with the manifest presence of God and make her face light up with His light and love are those spent walking miles through the mountains carrying a few bags of rice and beans to feed the poor and then sit in the dirt with them. Lower and slower and to know Christ and Him crucified is her goal. Her greatest most heartfelt desire is that others would know Jesus as she does and more. She is a true worshipper who loves God more than anyone I know. She loves to dance. To see her dance before the Lord in worship is to witness one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen on earth. Her very presence is a constant reminder and frequent conviction to me of what is most important. I am so very blessed and honored to call her my wife.

I want to honor her today in particular because today 11/22/2020 is her birthday. She lost almost everything and doesn’t even have a home. Still her greatest concern right now is for those who just lost theirs.

Her favorite movie is The Passion of the Christ. Lately she has been pondering aloud the scene where after being nailed to the cross the soldiers pull Jesus into a vertical position and the cross settles into the waiting post hole. Meanwhile Mary rises from her knees, her fists full of the earth she’d been clutching. Her hands slowly and reluctantly open in apparent surrender.

Cathy frequently wonders what she would have done had she been present when Jesus was tortured and crucified. Would she have become dejected as the Apostles did. Or would she have screamed “Why?!!” in rage at God. What was in the natural the most horrific treatment of any human being at the hands of another became the path of redemption for all of humanity.

His ways are not our ways.

For example, this Land Rover that you saw parked across from our house the day before the landslide does not belong to us. We don’t own a car. It is a ministry vehicle and was used to rescue us after the landslide. Josh picked it up the day it started raining because someone had siphoned half a tank of gas. It would be gone and we would still be completely stranded had the gas not been stolen.

While Jesus is the eternal answer to everything that ails us, Mary is the often under rated example of what it actually looks like to embrace that Truth here in earth. Perhaps it is the suffering of childbirth and motherhood that afforded Mary and all mothers with the deepest understanding of God’s grace and compassion such that they become living epistles. All I know is that Cathy is God’s living epistle to me and more people than she knows.

Today I want everyone to know it.

I want to honor my wife today because today is her birthday and I almost lost her. If there is anything at all that is good in me here on this earth it’s because God knew I needed her for a wife. Frankly, I don’t know how I would ever go on without her.

Ironically we slept under this statue of Joseph on the night our home was washed away. I felt, but could not identify the significance at the time. There’s not a whole lot written about Joseph in the Bible. We are left to imagine how he might have felt and what he thought as he became homeless and stood by and supported his wife who was quite literally filled with the manifest presence of God. When I tell you that children and adults  in our village cry and ask us to stay, they are not crying to me. They are crying to and over the loss of Cathy. Cathy’s birthdays have been historically tragic. There is a time and season for everthing. This is Cathy’s season. I can not give her anything. Even if I did she’d give it away. My prayer today is that God grant her His peace and joy.  All I can say is that today

I think I have a better idea of what it it must have been like to walk in Joseph’s shoes.

We’ve got a long hard road ahead of us. If you think of it perhaps say a prayer for Cathy today.  I am so much more aware of just how much she has impacted the lives of others than she. I just wanted the world to know just a few of the reasons why I love her and am so amazed by her.

MARANATHA!

Still Growing Down in Honduras

A Gray Hope Missionaries Update

When people ask missionaries about missions the easiest answer is to give details about ministries and what we’d like to think we see God doing through us and around us. There have been times when our own reports sound more like an investment prospectus than a report of what God is doing. Most missionary blogs and newsletters do not begin with a list of failures and brokenness.  And while the secular cults of personality and comparison have invaded the church and made the quest for personal significance and success into idols,

His strength is made perfect in weakness.” We would rather boast in our infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon us.  For when we are weak, then we are strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Brokenness remains the key to missions.

Therefore we are always compelled to first qualify ourselves according to our failures and infirmities before we qualify any ministry we do. Our lives before Christ included things like addiction, divorce, suicidal ideation, and prison to name a few. I struggled with alcoholism for two decades and failed at everything before being instantly delivered from it and the buckshot coming my way amidst a point-blank shotgun blast. I wasn’t looking for Jesus at the time. I was looking to die. I did. Cathy was essentially looking to do the same when Jesus delivered her. John 15:16

The extent to which God uses us today remains a function of our brokenness and the utter dependence upon Jesus that flows from it.

That brokenness is not just historical.   

Like most aspiring missionaries we had dreams of changing the world for Jesus when we began. That’s before we accepted that God may use us but He doesn’t need us to do anything for Him. He places us where ever He does because where He puts us is the best place for Him to conform us to His image. Rom 8:29 As easy it might be to tell tails of adventure and harrowing brushes with death, and how we are saving Honduras in spite of it. The fact is that while the adventure is real it is God and sometimes Hondurans who save us. If that weren’t bad enough, for the record, we have never led a single person to Christ. We have planted and watered a lot of seed. 1 Cor 3:6-8 We have also been present when people made the decision to surrender John 4:36-38. We have never healed anyone. We have seen God heal people when we prayed for them. John 11:4 I once saw a demon-possessed man set free on a short term mission trip as I prayed. But honestly, I only prayed because I was last in line in a fire tunnel and the pastor was yelling at me. I didn’t know what to say so I just started saying “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” over and over until he fell down sobbing at my feet. People said it was amazing. I was more amazed than anyone because I didn’t believe in any of that stuff at the time. When we teach we assume we are there for one person because most people usually don’t care what we say. As it turns out we frequently teach in tongues. Many times we hear, “Wow I really liked what you said.” Only we never said what they heard. My point is that our path was and is one of God accomplishing His will in spite of us rather than because of us. We are not spiritual special forces as some are prone to view missionaries. We are people that God uses to prove that He can use anyone anywhere provided they are a yielded vessel. He is the potter. We are His cracked pots. We just keep putting one foot in front of the other as His will and purpose unfolds before us.

Most times it feels like we are just along for the ride.

I realize this might not be the purposeful and intentional way in which many imagine the great the commission should unfold.

However, it does lend some perspective to Eph 2:8-10

The valley of Megiddo from the Mount of Transfiguration. We received a free round trip to Israel last year.

There is a tendency in the contemporary body of Christ to pursue Mat 17 Mount of Transfiguration type experiences.  Many Christians spend their entire lives chasing prophetic affirmations mostly about themselves and encounters with the manifest presence of God. Yet the mountain top is the place where God reveals Himself as the anchor to which we tether our faith as we venture into the valley below. It is the firey crises of faith in the valleys of life that burn off the dross and purify us.

Becoming a missionary is volunteering for the valley.

COVID was one such valley for us as we found ourselves locked down immediately after moving to a remote mountain village where we didn’t know anyone and many had never even met a gringo before. The State Department kept sending emails advising us to evacuate. When the border closed we knew we were committed and that we were on our own if we get sick. Several months in, depression and anxiety crept up on Cathy. A sense of futility bordering on apathy snuck up on me as I heard that familiar Gen 3 whisper, “Did God really say?…” “Did God really place you here? Or were we imagining things?” There were only two places to go to at this point. One was what AIM alumni know as the “Q” zone (the quit zone) deep in the valley of the “Project Mood Curve”. The other was deeper into the Secret Place.

  Thankfully we were both compelled toward the latter.

Yet even that was a function of His grace more than it was our will and our choice.

That’s when His purpose opened up. God confirmed that we are exactly where He wants us.

Perhaps the biggest difference between full-time missions in the third world and ministry in the first is that missionaries have fewer options from which to choose before God becomes the only one. While the first world rewrites the book of Ecclesiastes, missions offers a short cut to the truth in chapter 12.

Never the less it is a paradoxical process of growth that He brings us through.

“When you are done growing, you’re done.”

-Heidi Baker-

We want less of us and more of Him.  John 3:30-36

So we keep growing down.

All that being said, “becoming” a missionary is simple.  It is hearing and being obedient to God’s call regardless of whether it makes sense.  It is counting the cost and laying down in faith whatever is, for what God’s word says could and should be. 

Being” a missionary is living in James 1:4 and sometimes enduring the reality of the verses immediately before. 

Lately, it’s been walking through mountain jungles to deliver food because of the lockdown. 

And filling the gap at our house because fear canceled school. 

Of course, the true purpose is neither food nor school but opening doors to eternal Truth. More often it means planting in hope that another may harvest. One thing we have learned;

People don’t care what you know until they know how much you care. 

We Do.

We are into our fifth year on the field and our fourth year in Honduras. 

Right now, we are in a fairly remote mountain location called Cerro Azul Meambar and in Luke 10 forerunning stages of a new ministry among partly Miskito Indian people. That means going low and slow, building relationships and trust, and becoming a part of our new community. We do a lot of children’s ministry. Children are great ambassadors between us and sometimes more skeptical adults.

Our real heart is for discipleship which among other things means involving kids ages 10 -13 in outreach.

The second aspect of forerunning is not as fun. It is finding and binding the Mat 12:22-30 strong man. In missions terms, the strong man is the person, issue, or situation that impedes gospel truth. It can be an individual, political party, or social issues like poverty, domestic violence, or addiction, etc.  After nearly six months we are narrowing it down. Most children here only attend school up to the 6th grade at which point they might grow coffee and net an average $3 for every hundred pounds of beans they grow.  If they harvest for someone else, they might make $2. 

Hondurans are notorious for their stoic, and fateful surrender to hopelessness.

Our prayer is that the fateful become faith-filled.

That said, the strong man appears to be alcoholism here.

It makes perfect sense in the spirit.  In addition to the two of us being former addicts, I was an adolescent substance abuse counselor and a clinical supervisor for a decade before I was a missionary. For fun, Cathy and I ran a faith-based co-ed transitional housing program for prison inmates. We lived with 5-10 inmates and sometimes their children for twelve years. As much as we have tried to get away and do something different, God continues to place this population in our path.  It was our brokenness that led us to Christ.  Apparently, it is still the same brokenness that continues to qualify us in ministry.  Ok, Lord.

Thy will be done.

Maranatha!

The Miraculous Mundane

How to name a puppy

Several years ago, Cathy had a vivid dream involving butterflies before we left for mission school in Africa and then moved to Honduras. Then she began seeing butterflies and butterfly symbols everywhere she went. It was happening so often that it seemed more than just a little prophetic and she began researching the history and symbology of butterflies. As you might expect the butterfly is a universally, age-old symbol of transformation.

Butterfly in our house

Some transformations are sudden. Most are gradual. Romans 12:1-2 tells us “not to be conformed to the ways of the world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds”. In Mathew 17:1-13 we see Jesus suddenly transformed in the presence of Peter, James, and John on the mount of transfiguration before leading them into a crisis of faith in the valley below. Israelis call this peak Mt. Tabor or “A Megiddo “ (Above Megiddo). Megiddo is the valley of the final prophetic battle of Armageddon. We were more than amused to find ourselves surrounded by butterflies as we walked this sacred ground when we were blessed with a free ticket to Israel in 2019.

A Megido

God shows up in so many poignant ways for us since we entered the mission field that only made sense that we would find ourselves surrounded by the most amazing butterflies in Cerro Azul when God uprooted us in January.

There is one variety here that only appears in pairs. They are small, pure white, and too fast to photograph as they dance in perfect unison forming a double helix as they ascend. They fascinate me. Ironically, I hadn’t seen any in several weeks when two of them suddenly appeared as I wrote about them here.

It occurred to me that maybe they were always there, and I had merely stopped seeing them.

We Christians can be rather impetuous in our expectation that God should always do a new thing. The end result can look a lot like ingratitude and even idolatry.

Cathy has always been just a tiny bit anti-dog. Don’t get me wrong, she loves dogs. Unfortunately, she’s allergic to shed animal hair. While we had dogs in Hawaii, they did not enter the house. Here in Honduras, she didn’t even want dogs in our yard. Then one day we went to buy eggs and carried a shedless short hair puppy home. If that weren’t enough this dog lives inside like a child. As of this writing, she’s even been sleeping in our bed. 

Still, our dog did not have a name.

As might be expected we are the only gringos here. In fact, many in our village had never met one face to face. Suffice it to say we have a near-constant flow of people knocking at our door. Ten-year-old Carmen, one of the firsr girls we met was the first to come knocking that day.

Carmen

¿Cuál es su nombre? What is her name? She asked. “She doesn’t have a name yet,” we said. “What should we name her?” “Mariposa” she replied without hesitation.

Mariposa means butterfly. 

I have yet to meet a Honduran dog named “butterfly”.

It seemed like a no brainer to me. “That’s too long,” Cathy said.

“Dog names should only be two syllables.”

Thirty minutes later a family we’d never met came to sell papayas. The daughter looked to be about Carmen’s age. She freaked out with joy when she saw our new puppy. ¿Cuál es su nombre? She asked? She doesn’t have a name yet. What should we name her? The girl paused and said,

“Mariposa”.

But Cathy was still bucking the name. Go figure. That’s when I posted “Name our dog” on Facebook.

We got well over one hundred excellent suggestions. Any of them would have worked in my book. But Cathy was still racking her brain. Hosanna, Java, Esperanza, Glory, all of them sounded so good. 

“Help me, honey.” She said.

On Saturday we had our usual children’s ministry.

One sweet little girl named Alicia showed up early. Cathy had gone to retrieve a new girl and I was left to introduce our new puppy myself. Alicia was enthralled. ¿Cuál es su nombre? she asked. “Nunca.” “None” I began in my characteristically horrible Spanish. “Que nombre para mi perita?” What should I name her? I asked.

“Mariposa!” Alicia blurted.

Perhaps the prophetic people out there will see a deeper message in all this. There’s certainly no lack of prophetic words these days. I think God wants us to see the sacred within the moment, to pay attention, to remain grateful amidst the current and coming chaos, and embrace the miraculous within the mundane.  I am certain more will be revealed provided we don’t allow the times to change who we are. Thankfully there’s nothing quite like children and a puppy to facilitate our transformative process of growing down in Honduras.

For now, it is a simple act of obedience when I declare,

Nuestra el nombre del perrita es

Mariposa

(Our dog’s name is Butterfly)

Sometimes the mundane is the miracle.

Mike the Cat – An Allegory

Years ago I had a really laid back black and white cat named Mike. I’ve never really been a cat person but this cat was cool. He was so cool that he got along with everyone even dogs. While neighborhood cats fought in the street at night, Mike stayed home and ignored all the drama. Dogs would chase the street fighting cats during the day. They would simply sniff Mike.

They were never quite sure what to make of him.

Each day I would return home from work to find Mike standing quietly by his food bowl in calm almost polite expectation of being fed. One day a scrawny kitten showed up just as Mike began to eat. The kitten stood staring as Mike ate then abruptly smacked him in the head. Mike stepped back stunned as the sad little thing started eating his food. I watched in quiet amusement. Mike looked like a gentle giant next to the scruffy ball of fur. This same scene played out every day for at least a week. Part of me began to anthropomorphize Mike. To be honest I felt convicted as I watched him turn the other cheek. Was he praying as he was being despitefully used?

Other times I wondered if Mike wasn’t just dumb.

One day the kitten walked in, smacked Mike in the head, and proceeded to consume all of his food. Everything looked the same as Mike stood calmly by. Only this time he ever so slowly lifted a paw that was nearly the same size as the scruffy little kitten’s head. Then calmly dropped it smashing it’s little face down into the bowl. His demeanor never changed. He remained calm and there was absolutely no sound as he held the struggling ball of fur down and just as abruptly let it go. Needless to say, the kitten didn’t fight. It just ran away. I heard barking and hissing and gnashing teeth in the street as it went. I never saw the little kitten again.

Mike disappeared a few weeks later.

I never saw him again.

“If you dance with the devil the devil doesn’t change, the devil changes you.”

– Neal Wagatsuma-

We are all being gaslit.

Matthew 26:52-53,

John 18:36 and Col 3

Maranatha!

Anatomy of Deception – Binding the Strong Man

How do you determine what is true? How do you discern right from wrong?

How you answer these questions is determined by your world view. There are many. If you are Christian the Word of God should interpret your experience and frame your world view. Deception results when people interpret the Word of God via their experience and allow their experience to frame their world view. The first is objective. The latter is subjective.

Subjectivity is a growing problem in the body of Christ

Many refuse to see it.

In Mark Chapter 3 Jesus appoints the 12 disciples and gives them the power to preach, heal, and cast out demons. When the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees heard this they tried to attack Him.

Jesus was the Truth and they called Him a liar and a devil.

So He used the laws of coherence and correspondence to refute their claims. The laws of coherence and correspondence require that a truth claim makes sense and corresponds to reality within the context in which it is being stated. Violations of these laws are most easily demonstrated by the oxymorons like this famous nursery rhyme that result.

“One bright day in the middle of the night two dead boys got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords, and shot each other.”

In this case, Jesus simply points out that a house or a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand and asks,

“How can Satan cast out Satan?”

He goes on to say that

 “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.”

While people tend to focus on the unseen supernatural power involved in casting out demons, Jesus began every confrontation with the truth. E.g. Luke 4:1-13, John 8, John 17:17. Objective truth is the most often overlooked supernatural aspect of God.

The strong man is the lie that masquerades as truth.

Of course, the natural man wants to find a natural manifestation of the lie to oppose in the flesh. Social media and our city streets are proof positive of this. Yet we do not war against flesh and blood. While our battle is ultimately metaphysical against rulers and principalities of the air Eph 6:12 the more tangible context is often in the realm of belief and world view. It makes sense given that everyone’s eternal disposition is contingent on these.

That’s probably at least one reason why belief is addressed 148 times in 135 verses in the New Testament alone.

Satan has from the beginning always attacked belief on the grounds of the existence and nature of truth.

Today we are facing an outright assault on truth in the form of a calculated deconstruction of our history, identity, language, education, culture, and most importantly our faith. While people like Paul-Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida often get much of the contemporary credit, deconstruction began with Satan in Genesis 3,

“Did God really say?”

Deconstruction always attacks meaning and is ultimately about power.

Random and crazy as it often appears, deconstruction is neither of these.

On January 10, 1963, Cleon Skousen a former undercover FBI Agent, presented 45 stated American communist party goals to congress. These enumerated deconstructive goals included tearing down statues, defunding the police, and replacing them with mental health professionals who would diagnose anti-communist propensities as mental disorders. It proposed using the UN to achieve a global communist government. Getting people to accept this would be gradual and achieved by first circumventing education and dumbing down the curriculum. This would be further supported through the discrediting of parents and the institution of the family as a whole and finally teaching violent student insurrection as a legitimate method for achieving political goals.

Sound familiar?

Of course, the Christian church and our faith was and is acknowledged as the primary obstacle to achieving all the other goals.

Hence

Communist agenda #27 “Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with social religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a religious crutch.”

This is happening!

In addition to the social and political deconstruction of the American way of life, there is a growing Christian deconstruction movement resulting in people including leaders rejecting Christ. The supporting intellectual framework is often just a cover for sin and or a worldly agenda. The most sophisticated arguments usually revolve around apparent textual inconsistencies in the Bible, as yet unproven historical claims, fake science, and false justice. “How could a loving God…? “If God is real why doesn’t He…? “Where is the proof of….?” They demand proof according to human criteria in apparent ignorance that God is sovereign, His ways are higher than our ways and that faith, not empirical proof is the foundation of lived Christianity. Luke 18:8 In the end Biblical truth is deconstructed according to the standards of man. Like Jesus, in Mark 3 God and His Church are judged as evil.

Of course, nature abhors a vacuum.

Once God is removed from the equation, those programmed by media to embrace an entitled, monetized victim mindset are more than ready to accept the State as the god who provides.

#27 accomplished.

Do not be deceived. The real battle is against God regardless of the social issues in which it manifests.

Today we have growing divisions in the church. There are political divisions, racial divisions, and divisions over gender to name a few. More importantly, there are divisions regarding God’s position on these and other issues. Every conflict is ultimately rooted in Pontious Pilate’s question in John 18:38,

“What is Truth?”

If you are a Christian then Jesus is the Truth. He is also the Word. We learn what is true by studying it. 2 Tim 2:15

We bind the strongman by knowing and proclaiming it. 2 Cor 10:4-5, 2 Tim 2:15, Col 2:8-10

Biblical truth always corresponds with the Word of God and remains coherent within that context or it is not Truth.

Coherent exegesis is always God-centered and objective.

Man centered exegesis is always subjective and results in perverted truth, sin, and divisions.

Not sometimes.

Always!

Hence Jesus ended the discussion with a warning.

“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”—because they said,

“He has an unclean spirit.”

In it’s simplest form, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the insistence that the Truth is a lie and a refusal to be corrected.

If we profess to be Christian but lean on our own understanding of God and His will and refuse to be corrected by the Word of God, then we risk being as guilty as the Scribes and Pharisees and subject to the same consequences.

So how do we avoid this?

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

Anytime you find yourself passionately arguing for or against a particular world view or moral issue etc. be like the Acts 17:11 Bereans and do so Biblically. That means citing scripture or at least being able to support your position with scripture if and when your position is questioned or opposed. It means demanding the same regarding all truth claims from brothers and sisters whether or not we agree with them.

“Where is that in the Bible?” Should be our default.

Sometimes this requires long-suffering and bearing with one another while Prov 27:17 sparks fly. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is happening today. People are refusing to even discuss let alone debate essential doctrines. In the case of radical subjectivists, either you agree or you get canceled. This rapidly emerging trend looks a lot like a 2 Thes 2:1-3 falling away. So be it. The Bible says that will and must happen.

One thing is certain. Truth isn’t Christian Truth unless it corresponds with scripture and remains coherent within that context.

Any other standard of truth, justice, or righteousness is at best an attempt to cast Satan out with Satan. At worst it is the manifest presence of Satan himself. Many today refuse to hear this. The organization Black Lives Matter is a perfect example. I realize that my saying this will send some people into a rage. Several have already accused me of misrepresenting Jesus. Others have accused me of white supremacy and of representing Satan myself.

I’m ok with that.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!” Mat 10:24-25

Besides, Jesus “didn’t come to bring peace but a sword.” Mat 10:34-39

In any case, BLM supporters should definitely watch this and listen to the words directly from their founders before disagreeing.

The salvation of some could very well be in the balance.

Then explain,

What fellowship does light have with darkness? 2 Cor 6:14

Call it subjectivism, Marxism, witchcraft, progressivism, Critical theory, postmodernism, deconstruction; call it whatever you want. The Strongman is doing home and church invasions.

If we don’t bind him with Truth now, we are going to be bound and plundered later.

Maranatha!

Racism, Truth and The Samaritian Woman

As missionaries, we view the story of the Samaritan woman at the well in John Chapter 4 as a wisdom treasure trove and a template for ministry and missions especially within the context of racial prejudice.

As is the case with pretty much every ethnic conflict, 1st century Samaritans and Jews were diametrically opposed to each other on the basis of race and heritage. The Samaritans lived by Jacob’s well and believed they were God’s righteous people. The Jews in Jerusalem believed the exact opposite. The Samaritans worshiped on Mount Gerizim. The Jews worshiped on Mount Moriah.

Both groups were focused on the fleshy constructs in the name of the kingdom.

Samaria was regarded by the Jews as a racial no go zone kind of like the old “wrong side of the tracks” or “skid row” in the US. In fact, Jews would walk several extra miles around Samaria when journeying between Judea and Galilee just to avoid walking through it.

John 4 says Jesus “needed to go through Samaria.”

Upon arrival, He encountered a disenfranchised adulterous woman at the community well and asked her for a drink. Community wells were a focal point for village social life among women. The same practice can be seen throughout the third world today. That the Samaritan woman was there alone in the heat of the day is an indication of just how ostracized and shame-based she must have been. Not only did Jesus violate the rule that Jews did not talk to Samaritans. But Jewish men, and especially Rabbis did not talk to women at all let alone known serial adulteresses. While both the woman and the disciples were incredulous that Jesus would even acknowledge her presence, He turned around and drank Samaritan water from a Samaritan cup. Anyone involved in third world missions will be familiar with the thoughts that run through one’s mind when handed a cup of potentially bacteria-ridden water to drink. It always comes down to a question of personal well being versus honoring your host.

Honor is the foundational key to opening doors in missions and reconciliation.

Racism, be it rooted in ideas of racial supremacy, purity, or systemic power, is anti-relational at its core in that it denies an individual or group their inherent, God-given dignity in order to dominate them. That Critical Race Theorists and Social Justice Warriors do so for the sake of achieving dominance over those whom they regard as abusively dominant still qualifies as racism. As in the case of any sin, the devil doesn’t care if one is obsessed with continuing to sin or obsessed with not doing it. He just needs sin, not God to be the main focus.

The same applies to the sin of racism.

Jesus repeatedly ignored man’s interpretations of identity, value, culture, and morality. He never debated because He knew what was in man, namely a constant vying for personal prosperity, privilege, and power. Neither did He debate the devil when he tried to tempt Him with power and privilege. That’s not just white people. That’s all people and is a result of the Fall. Sometimes he exposed and firmly rebuked those like Peter, who should have known better than to judge according to the standards of fallen man. More often He simply short-circuited false and or disingenuous arguments with parables and scripture then left people alone to wrestle with the truth before God.

The story of the Samaritan woman is poignant in regard to race and racism because Jesus modeled the correct approach. He honored her in spite of her sin and in the presence of those who normally would not have. He didn’t embark on a long diatribe about inequity or misogyny. He did not engage in a long philosophical and historic apologetic analysis of systemic issues. Neither did He ignore the woman’s sin. He called it out in a very matter of fact way and then directed her attention to Himself.

The end result was a flipped script among everyone present and the transformation of a shame-based and marginalized woman into the first recorded evangelist in the Gospel.

There are so very many lessons and prophetic implications contained within this story. The moral as it relates to racism is that racism is best countered by ignoring all its fleshy social constructs and short-circuiting it with honor in the presence of others. Healing comes with an intense focus on Truth. Jesus was clear.

True worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:24

Flesh based socially constructed racism is not possible within that context.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1

Think about it.

Cool Kids and Skids

The Absurdity of Snobbery

I grew up in a very old town with even older money. While my family was not poor, neither did we qualify to be part of the local country club elite and I was always very aware of being looked down upon by wealthier children. In fact, there were just two classes of kids in our school, “cool kids” and “skids”. I was never sure if “skid” referred to skid row or “skid mark” but I knew it wasn’t good.

I became an official skid at 14 when my family fell apart and I ended up living on my own. My newfound status was made abundantly clear when I found myself no longer welcome at the homes of many of my friends. Some parents were afraid I’d become a bad influence on their children. Others were simply dumbfounded and overwhelmed by not knowing how to respond. The same fear driven, paralysis manifests everyday all over the world as people pass by the nameless and forgotten on park benches,sidewalks and the sides of roads. You know what I am talking about. The image of that one person you passed by when Holy Spirit said to stop is still etched in your mind.

I might be a missionary but I’ve done it myself.

When the snobs of Jesus’s day questioned Him regarding His association with potentially bad influences like tax collectors and sinners in Luke 5:27-32. Jesus replied, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Over and over we see Jesus bucking the false social constructs of race and class. The story of the Samaritan woman in John 4 shows the incredulity of both the Samaritan woman and the disciples regarding Jesus’s rejection of society’s expectations. “How is it that you being a Jew ask me a Samaritan woman for a drink?” Normally Jews would not even walk through Samaria let alone talk to someone who lived there.

Yet Jesus drinks from a Samaritan cup.

Here in Honduras, the wealthy upper crust in our village would not even qualify as the lower class in the US. A lot of people would simply assume they were criminals if they saw them wandering on a US city street. Even so, we encounter the same old spirit of snobbery made even more absurd by the poverty in which it exists. In the US you hear stereotypical warnings like “be careful, they’re “from the wrong side of tracks”. In our village, we hear, “be careful, they’re from the “wrong side of the bridge”. “Don’t go there,” they say. Why not? “They’re bad people.”

So we went.

It seems that no matter where we go we find modern-day Samaritans.

Yesterday one of the young local Samaritans to whom we minister visited us and parked his mule by our house. Our neighbor had a fit. “Who does she think she is?!” “It isn’t even her property!” I said.

“Wait a minute. Is she being a snob?”

That’s when I remembered how much I had hated the rich people in my town. Those girls who looked down their noses and sneered in disdain as if to say, “don’t even think about it scum!” Those boys who snickered as if to say “You’ll never measure up! You’ll never make the grade!” If it were today I might be in the streets protesting their privilege fueled by my own never-ending projections of “as if to say”.

My problem wasn’t them. My problem was me.

Every bit of conflict in our society today is the result of the same stupid albeit ever-expanding social constructs upon which people justify taking offense. I despise the ideas of those Marxists protesting in the streets. But if I am honest before God and take the plank out of my own eye, when I look at the people in groups like ANTIFA all I can say is

“There but for the grace of God go I.”

We have witnessed the consequences of this same Mat 7:3-5 dynamic among all kinds of people from those in the US to remote Teramanani and Huaorani tribes in the Amazon and South Sudanese people in the Rhino Refugee camp in Africa. People have been beheaded in a village where we served in Mozambique. We have seen violence in Honduras. We will see it here again. We are seeing it in the streets all over the world today. Those whose identities are informed by social constructs rather than God inevitably come to the same end of a pointed finger; destruction and bloodshed in the name of a socially constructed false concept of righteousness.

There is nothing new under the sun. Apart from Christ, the sins of one generation continue through the next three or four and even seven until all involved are stripped of everything but the inescapable FILTHY RAG reality of Isaiah 64:6-7 and Rom 3:10-18.

No One is righteous. Not one!

But that’s the red pill that fewer and fewer are willing to actually swallow let alone preach. Hence Jesus said “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.Mat 7:13-14

Every last one of us is born into a proverbial crash at sea and everyone is drowning. Jesus is the one and only life raft. He has space enough for everyone. John 3:16 But we have to repent Acts 3:19 and embrace the ministry of reconciliation that He has provided. 2 Cor 5:16-19 That said, He only responds within the context of the recognition of our own spiritual bankruptcy. A drowning man who doesn’t know he is drowning must first be convinced. A drowning man who refuses to a knowledge he is drowning can not be saved at all. Yet if we throw our hands up in surrender He always responds. He responds because of who He is and in spite of who we are. This is paradoxical to the natural mind. It requires humility to accept it. Understanding comes later. In any case it is through humility, and brokenness, not status or class that we find freedom, true life, and purpose.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2:8-10

Ironically as much as we like to read ourselves and others into various parables and verses, those whom Jesus called “sick” do not represent any particular group, ethnicity, or class. At the end of the day, “Sick” could be a cool kid pointing a finger at a skid or a skid pointing a finger at a cool kid. While many remain consumed with the perpetration of a fraudulent worldly facade,

this life is a vapor. James 4:14

There are no cool kids on a death bed, only drowning skids who need to be saved and those who already have the revelation of the Imago Dei.

There are no skids in Jesus only kids made eternally cool. Col 2:8-10

Pray On MLK

Anatomy of Deception 1.5 – Countering the Lie

“Inequity demands a civil rights movement. Iniquity demands a civil righteousness movement.”

– Civilrighteousness.org –

Today is Aug 8, 2020.  It was on this day in 1968 at 6:01 pm that Martin Luther King was shot and killed. His desire was that one day his “children would be judged according to the content of their character rather than the color of their skin”, that “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood”.

There is only one way this will ever be possible.

Finally today there is a scripturally sound seed of hope.

The young people to whom we have ministered through the years and those who have been following this series of posts know how adamantly opposed I am to the false social justice gospel that has emerged out of Critical Race Theory and all it’s attendant Intersectional  “ists” and “isms”. Well-intentioned or not, the implicit denial of Imago Dei in favor of dividing people according to categories of oppressor and oppressed along the lines of race, gender, and class, etc. is Marxism. Those familiar with the works of Richard Wurmbrand know that Karl Marx was not just an atheist as so many have claimed.  He was an initiated Satanist.  

While being unwittingly duped by Marxist ideology does not in itself make one a satanist, Marxism is the spirit of anti-Christ.

Some of us were alive when the system that resulted in the deaths of more than one hundred million people in the 20th Century reached its crescendo and collapsed with the fall of the Iron curtain in 1989.  Others have been unwittingly indoctrinated into a diluted form of Marxist ideology within our very own public school system. (more on this later)

“If the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness.” Matthew 6:23 Similarly, if what you believe is the truth is actually a lie, how great is that lie? In any case, the bible is clear.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Cor 6:14-17

While most if not all of the warnings we have sounded amidst those who were not alive during the Cold War or the Civil Rights Movement have fallen on deaf ears, it is with the knowledge that our “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” 2 Cor 10:5 remains in the context of 1 Cor 3:6-9. “Only God gives the increase”. We are “not shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter…” 2 Thes 2:2 when people recoil, rebel or gnash their teeth at us.

Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly.” Prov 16:22

One of the benefits of age is a deeper understanding that we all reap what we sow Gal 6:7 and that learning often requires affliction Psalm 119:71. While the requisite “great falling away” 2 Thes 2:1-4 is almost certainly upon us, we know that the “gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations(Ethnos; People Groups) Mat 24:14 We take comfort in the fact that the suffering and confusion in the last days will be accompanied if not offset by an even greater revival and harvest Zephaniah 3:9-10.

I believe that today Aug 8, 2020, at 6:01 PM represents a window of opportunity for the body of Christ to choose God and reject friendship with the world James 4:4 by casting down the vain imaginings of secular social justice through which the enemy seeks to “spoil many through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Col 2:8 It is a call to replace false secularized justice with true biblical justice in Jesus Christ who gave us the ministry of reconciliation, the spiritual lens through which “we regard no one according to the flesh” 2 Cor 5:16-19 but according to whether or not we be “alive together in Christ Jesus.” Eph 2:1-10

At the end of the day, all must choose between “the doctrine which accords with godliness” or “the useless wranglings of men” 1 Tim 6:3-5 

One thing is certain. Our enemies are doing everything in their power to foment a violent Marxist revolution under the guise of empathy and compassion. THE ENEMY wants bloodshed. He doesn’t really care why or how it manifests.

Therefore won’t you join us at 6:01 today as we partner with others in the spirit and pray that the USA and the world would

“enter the one day”?

Click the button below for more info.

Still Growing Down in Honduras

Like much of the rest of the world, COVID cases in Honduras continue to climb in accordance with increased testing. The more relevant mortality rate has remained at around 2.5 – 3.1%. Whatever the biological and clinical reality of COVID turns out to be, the economic fallout is wreaking havoc in the cities here. Thank God we are not in a city. At this time we are allowed out to buy food in the city once every 15 days. For the most part, we eat, rice, eggs, beans, and bananas.

The good news is that at the time of this writing, the uber strict nationwide lockdown has started to ease. A lot of Hondurans are convinced the whole thing is a power grab and are ignoring the lockdown anyway. Of course, that could change at any moment.

We still don’t want to catch COVID in Honduras.

Thy Will Be Done!

I’ll be honest, it has been hard at times. I really don’t like to admit that. I’ve never really experienced anxiety over God’s provision before. The havoc that has been wrought upon the global economy means money is tight for everyone and our personal support has dwindled. Lately, I’ve been wondering if God isn’t going to take us to that place that so many other missionaries like Hudson Taylor have described, of being down to their very last dollar or dime or piece of bread only to be lead by God to give it away. At the end of the day, being a missionary isn’t about being some kind of world-changing superhero as so many imagine. It’s about growing in dependence upon Him. That always involves a shaking and a breaking. There’s a lot of that going on today. Heb 12:25-28 While James 1:4 “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” is my official mission motto, I know a breaking is taking place when I sit in our river and cry and can’t for the life of me explain why. As Cathy recently wrote, this is an ongoing daily call to surrender even if it means

“living like this for the rest of my life – if it is your will, God.”

Thank God, we have each other. Even so, we miss our friends both here in Honduras and in the US, not to mention our family. Some times the enemy plays mind games and we wonder if anyone cares or if we’ll ever even see anyone again. These are the days when we lay it down even more. Other days we wrestle with the feelings of utter uselessness and futility. Cathy just presses harder into the Lord when this happens. “Where there is no vision people perish…” Proverbs 29:18 is a bigger struggle for me. The men in my family keep going until their purpose is gone. Then they die. My sympathetic nervous system responds to a lack of purpose as a life-threatening event. Of course, the struggle is not for a lack of knowledge. We both have the words we would and have given to those whom we counseled through the years. In any case, I’m sure we are not unique. So…

Cathy made her own prayer closet in the old coffee mill / guest house in our yard.

In any case, we both spend a huge amount of time in God’s word. While I’m not the least bit prophetic, I keep hearing the word “preserved”. The other day Cathy mentioned the fact that Abraham waited 25 years, Moses 40, Joseph 13, David 22, Jesus 30, and Paul waited on the Lord for 14 years. Any genuine word that one of us receives is always confirmed by the other. One thing we have learned. If you don’t know how to wait,

don’t even think about doing full time missions.

Hope In Time Ministries

We are still working to get Hope In Time off the ground. Unfortunately, Josh is still in the US and Paulet lives in another village. She’s definitely got her hands full there right now. Initially, we had envisioned getting scholarships to get kids into school, showing the Jesus film in remote villages and doing discipleship with people an families struggling with substance abuse. We thought we’d be providing solar power to families without electricity and concrete floors. We could blame it on the enemy but it is the Lord who is saying otherwise. Again, sometimes roadblocks are for our growth and protection. Proverbs 14:12

In any case, Cathy and I have built many relationships over the years. We wanted to let people know where we are at without speaking on behalf of the ministry as a whole. That’s why we are doing this update on our website rather than on Hope In Time’s. God willing Josh will back in the next month or two and the next update will be a formal Hope In Time newsletter.

If you’ve been following Hope In Time Ministries posts then you’ve seen our Hope In Time outreach videos where we delivered six thousand pounds of food to Lenca Indians.

We had to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops to pull it off but it happened. This is the same village in which we have been slowly building relationships for several years.

We still struggle with the language. But the soul to soul encounters we’ve experienced sometimes makes me think that words are overrated.

And true gratitude is often better seen than heard.

I wonder what you all see when you look in their eyes?

Of course, we had to quarantine inside our home for 15 days when we finished.

Then COVID came to Bacadia, the village where Paulet lives about three miles down the road. Normally we could walk there. But the leaders of Cerro Azul locked us in.

We didn’t really want to walk three miles to return a vacuum cleaner anyway. JK. That’s actually Cathy’s idea of a good time.

The roadblock was technically illegal. We figure that’s why guys in the guard shack hid from the camera.

In the meantime, Cathy and I continue to look for opportunities to build relationships and share the gospel anyway we can.

As it turns out, landslides are a relationship catalyst. Especially when you own your own ax and shovel.

“Why are you helping us? We can’t pay you.” is a great conversation starter.

The village has a school but many of the children still don’t read.

So we started a children’s library.

Carmen (in light blue) reads a little. Valerie reads a little more. Even so, Carmen has excellent taste in literature.

Green Eggs and Ham es mi favorito!

Carmen and Valerie are a bit intimidated by Cassie and Daisy who read really well. They declined to participate when they came to the door and saw the other two girls sitting at the table. Turns out girl drama is cross-cultural. We’re working on it. In any case, we gave them a children’s bible and we hope to create questions in their minds that will lead to ongoing discipleship.

A worker is worth his wages 1 Tim 5:18

We promised you’d be hearing more about Alfonzo.

He spent some time working in the United States then returned to Honduras where he was attacked by a man with a machete during a robbery. Today He has one hand, one ear, and one eye.

This is his coffee and yucca and Malanga farm.

It’ a hard one hour walk through the mountains and rain forest just to get there. Alfonzo walks it alone every day and carries what he needs. This day he carried I tree he wanted to plant.

The locals here know a lot about natural medicines. This bark “is good for your stomach”. “Some people get drunk on it,” he said.

Alfonzo has his challenges but he never complains, he is always grateful, always joyful.

and he loves the Lord.

He’s also a former Honduran Marine which probably explains his ability to adapt and overcome.

His coffee is nearly ready to harvest.

He nets $3 for every hundred pounds of raw cherries he picks. If he’s lucky he’ll bring in $90 this year.

How much do Americans pay for a cup of coffee at the highly WOKE Starbucks?

We are researching coffee and the coffee industry in hopes of creating a coop and finding a way to get these farmers fair market value for their coffee and their labor.

That said, we are not experienced entrepreneurs.

If you or someone you know is knowledgeable in this area and would like to help or advise us we’d sure appreciate it.

In the meantime, we keep pushing deeper into the mountains above our village on foot.

and leads to some pretty amazing views

On this day we were looking for a boy named Manuel and his family. Manuel had come to our door to sell plantains one day and he invited us to his house. We finally found them. Manuel is in the rear.

This was our first visit so naturally, we wanted to honor them and didn’t take many pictures. Like so many Hondurans their house has a dirt floor and everyone sleeps in the same room. They may be cash poor but they are rich in love. Norma the mom looks like she might be pregnant but Cathy didn’t want to ask. A low protein, high carb diet often consisting of nothing but corn results in an odd combination of malnourishment and weight gain in women here. The whole family seems to be nearsighted and needs glasses. It would be great to have a small medical brigade visit here one day. Anyway, we stumbled through a conversation with our not so good Spanish, and played some worship music over which the girls were mesmerized. We prayed for the whole family and invited them to visit us. We look forward to a growing friendship.

We think this is an abandoned baby “?”

Manuel found him and was caring for it. He tried to give it to Cathy.

We spent some time with our friend Jose on the way. He’s another hard-working farmer who also spent time in the USA.

Jose works hard and is very proud of his farm. He has a fair amount of land but is only able to work seven to ten acres by himself. He grows beans, corn, and coffee. Everything is done by hand.

Jose’s hunting dog.

Jose says he likes to hunt raccoons when he has time.

There is so much to learn each time we venture out. We are constantly amazed by the ingenuity and resilience of these people. There is so much we’d like to do to help. At the same time, we have seen the damage that Western materialism has wrought in the lives of indigenous people. We want to honor them as brothers and sisters in Christ, equals in the the light of Imago Dei and not as props in a missions drama that supports our own sense of purpose and significance. They have survived and thrived here for generations.

We wouldn’t last a week by ourselves.

Growing down never ends.

Thank you for your prayers.

If you are receiving this its because we love you.

Better than Nineveh

Most Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled and therefore were not written directly to us, or about us. Nevertheless, many of us like to cherry-pick and incorporate selected verses for ourselves. We love the assurance of verses like Jeremiah 29:11 originally addressed to Israel. We apply significance to ourselves with verses like Isaiah 61:1 even though it’s about Jesus in Luke 4:18-19 declaring his identity in the temple 700 years later. Granted these verses continue to edify us regarding God’s unchanging character, plan, and purpose. Even so, why do we only apply the warm fuzzy words instead of hard ones like Jeremiah 14 or Isaiah 5:20?

Why not Nahum?

Approximately one hundred fifty years after its collective repentance and subsequent reprieve as a result of Jonah’s obedience, Nineveh was back in the biblical judgment news.

While Nahum was clear that “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.” Nah 1:7 like any true prophet he was also clear that God isn’t playing games and “reserves wrath for His enemies.” Nah 1:2

Still the question remains; who are His enemies?

He is clear in his rebuke and declaration of God’s judgment. Nineveh had become a nation of many races and was sustained by greed. Substance abuse was rampant. Nah 1:9-10 There was violence in the streets, leaders plotted against the Lord and looting abounded in all its forms. Nah 2:9

But looting was not limited to rioters in the streets. Nahum describes Nineveh’s leaders as “swarming locusts, and grasshoppers”. Nahum 3:17 Grasshoppers and locusts pillage and never produce. They disappear in the light of the sun.

As in the days of Jeremiah who rebuked the lying prophets for their ear-tickling positivity and their claims that God said things that He never did, Jerm 14:13-15 the people of Nineveh had become complacent and perhaps oppositional. Apparently, they thought they were immune to God’s judgments. To which Nahum replies,

“Are you better than populous (Thebes)?…” “…(who) “was carried away, into captivity”. Nah 3:8-10

While his meaning may not have been quite as literal as the interpretation might be today, Nahum declares,

“Your people (men) have become women” the gates of your land are open to your enemies.” Nah 3:13

And finally

“Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; Your nobles rest in the dust. Your people are scattered on the mountains, And no one gathers them.” Nah 3:18

There are a lot of ear-tickling, positivity prophets, and preachers these days. Almost all of them are declaring that “sword and famine shall not touch our land” and that peace and assurance shall abound. Jer 14:13 They minister to individual self-esteem at the expense of salvation and stoke the flames of personal significance instead of fear of our God who is a consuming fire. Heb 12:29

All declare an imminent revival.

Few call for repentance.

Everyone loves them. Everyone speaks well of them. Luke 6:26

The Bible is ultimately the most positive and hopeful message mankind has ever seen. Yet it is a conditional one. It’s time frame is eternal. It demands we abandon our ways and become set apart (Holy). This process begins with repentance from sin. Apart from this, no message, no word, no action on our part means a thing.

If you compare the state of the world today with the likeness of Israel back then; what do you see? Do you see a pleased God declaring Jeremiah 29:11 over society at large or do you see Isaiah 5:20 and Jeremiah Chapter fourteen?

Given that God’s character, plan, and purpose do not change and Ecc 1:9 explains that history repeats; why would anyone believe that it won’t repeat now?

What does true love look like in the context of today?

What kind of messages do people really need?

If one old testament prophecy can be appropriated today, then all can be be appropriated.

Nineveh was overrun and destroyed.

Are we better than Nineveh?