How ironic that the segment of people who embraced one radical ideology and labeled anyone who disagreed with them as an opposing ideology in 2020 are now aligning with the very ideology they previously opposed. These ignore one massacre to oppose another. They remain blind to the fact that the very group they support now will be obliged to kill them if they come to power.
Meanwhile, the people labeled as “not human” and “animals” who were saved from genocide 78 years ago are now celebrated for their necessary eradication of “evil animals” who are “not human” today. These justify one massacre in opposition to another. Elsewhere in the world, those who fought to free the first group being opposed by the very group they liberated.
Meanwhile, back in the land of prosperity, and entitlement, those who oppose the alleged systematic oppression of one minority people group, demand the right to murder their children in the name of the human rights and health of another allegedly oppressed minority group. This is further justified by the claim that people in the womb are not human.
Perhaps you have noticed the absurdity is clarified by the absence of labels and names.
How did we get here?
Many people do not have a point of reference beyond themselves. Hence truth is defined as whatever they experience or perceive. Furthermore, we have sacrificed the ability and right to think critically on the altar of consensus rooted in, and driven by emotion. Our hackers easily direct our individual and collective discontent toward whatever fragment of imperfect humanity they deem most likely to inflame our emotions. Once in this state, we confuse “awfulizing” a problem and choosing a side, with contributing to its solution never realizing that “we”, not “they” are our real problem. All are dead men walking – appointed to the very wrath we would assign to others. Our condition is further confirmed and reinforced by our self-righteous hatred for whichever side our hackers have assigned us to oppose.
We are double-minded.
The root of our confusion and hypocrisy is twofold.
On one hand, we have the attempted negation of absolute truth and with it the denial of a source. Truth becomes a personal affair. Within this paradigm, consensus is love and disagreement hate. All hate must be killed so that love can thrive.
On the other hand, we have consensus-based affirmation that absolute truth does exist. Yet there is little to no understanding of what that TRUTH is. In its place, we have emotionally contrived, stump speeches and celebrity pulpits labeled as absolute truth as the preferred influencers imagine it.
It would seem that one man surmised correctly in 1871. People in both groups will kill one another and themselves until only a controllable few are left. Those that remain will be so demoralized that they will gladly accept the chief hacker as king.
Still, there remains one way to be unhackable. One truth, that leads to our origin, true freedom, true life, and the reconciliation of the family to which we all belong. It is a narrow way.
Only a remnant will find it.
As in the story Pinnochio, the wider, easier way is filled with comfort and pleasure. This broad beautiful road will remain more attractive, more interesting for a season as those who traverse it are conformed to the image of proverbial donkeys. Thinking themselves wise they inevitably become fools and all that they have permitted themselves to hate.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Pet 1:3-7
Trial or Temptation (KJV) is peirasmósthe temptation by which the devil sought to divert Jesus from his divine errand – the trial of man‘s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy – adversity, affliction, trouble: sent by God and serving to test or prove one‘s character, faith, holiness.
The books of First and Second Peter deal heavily with the reality of and the correct response to trials. Still, it can be hard for us to imagine let alone identify with the persecution Peter faced in a devolving Roman society under Nero who burned Rome and blamed it on Christians to justifiy impaling them on poles and burning them as candles to light the streets of Rome. Peter was eventually crucified. Perhaps a better comparison for us today would be the exiles in Asia Minor who in comparison were harassed more than persecuted at the time Peter wrote. Did they understand that Peter’s exhortation would apply more fully in twenty years when Domitian reigned?
The best way I can comprehend Peter’s word is to consider that at nearly the exact same time that we survived our landslide in Honduras, people to whom we had ministered during Harvest School in a village near Palma Mozambique were beheaded by Jihadist rebels.
Our relatively minor trial ended in a little more than a day. Meanwhile, several pastors trained by IRIS Global continued to see their villages burned and their wives and children killed before their eyes. Yet testimonies continue to pour out from Mozambique showing that grief-stricken as they were these men remained unshakable in their faith.
Most of us can’t imagine facing a trial like that.
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,for they loved not their lives even unto death.Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”Rev 12:11-12
Maybe it’s because I am a former Marine trained to think “If this, then this.” Maybe it’s because God called me to be a watchman on the wall. But I think we should be aware of the devils schemesEph 6:11 contemplate potential faith-testing scenarios, count the costLuke 14:28-29, and do all to standEph 6:13.
As I wrote in Watchman on the Wall the world’s economic elite recently coined the term “Polycrisis” to describe the overall status of our world in 2023. According to them the growing frequency and intensity of crises are proverbial red flags that should capture our attention and spur us to action. However, the psychology and theology driving the current global leadership, are in my view the true proverbial “canary in the coal mine”.
For example while Vladimir Putin is generally portrayed as a villain by western media, I believe he has correctly assessed the overall satanic cultural trajectory of the West.
And it is Satanic
Ironically Putin recently required Christianity to be taught in every Russian college and university. But don’t defect just yet. The Russian Orthodox Church leadership believes that Russia is the New Testament Israel. This is an age-old heresy called supersessionism.
It follows that Putin views the ongoing conflict in Ukraine as the parable of the sheep and goats Mat 25:31-46 played out in real-time. Russians are the sheep. NATO countries are the goats. Putin has stated that he would not hesitate to push the nuclear launch button and destroy all of humankind if Russian sovereignty “faced a genuine existential threat”.“There is no point in the existence of life on Earth without Russia.” Putin advisor Alexander Dugin euphemistically known as “Putin’s Brain” says a nuclear war between Russia and NATO while admittedly unwinnable for either side is nevertheless inevitable. Dugin and Putin both regard its eventuality as a sovereign act of God and a final separation between the sheep and goats where “Russians go to heaven as martyrs.”
“All NATO members will go to hell.“
If that isn’t a rock solid argument for the Acts 17:11 approach to God then I don’t know what is.
In addition to horrific exegeis, we have the shear insanity of resident Biden poking the Russian bear in the eye by sending F-16s.
Biden is also sending cluster bombs previously deemed illegal by the USA to kill Russians in Ukraine. Statistically, cluster bombs kill more civilians than soldiers. Meanwhile, Biden’s alleged neocon opponents like Senator Lindsey Graham are heralding the deaths of Russians as “the best money we’ve spent.”
The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. Psalm 11:5
If you look deep enough everything about the conflict in Ukraine amounts to sheer madness. The only logical conclusion is that contemporary Mathusians want billions of us dead. That said, the obliteration of planet Earth does not fit with the current Biblical prophetic timeline. A lot has to happen before Isaiah 34:4 comes into play and we get a new heaven and new earth. Rev 21:1-3 Again, I’m not trying to get you to build a bunker in your back yard. Rather, given our tendency toward complacency and apathy in the prosperous first world I think contemplating our response to one of many potential crises is a great way to identify with and understand the plight of Peter’s audience in Asia Minor. For example, I can imagine a Nero-eqsue scenario whereby the insane actions of Uniparty Neocons and supersessionist Russians posing as Christians become fuel for Satan’s minions on Earth. What a great way to justify the mass persecution of believers everywhere. Imagine blaming the followers of Jesus for a limited nuclear war instead of a mere fire. Similar to today I imagine some of Peter’s exile audience would have taken Peter’s exhortation to heart while others would have dismissed it in favor of hearing sweeter things.Isa 30:9-13 .
Speaking of Nero, Domitian, and now Biden, if we look at the history of church persecution in the context of today we find a direct correlation with the devolution of the social-moral fabric in the society in which the persecution occurred. Rom 1:18-32
Again, my hope is that in facing the very real potential of enduring our own trials, we will align our hearts with the current trials of a rapidly growing number of persecuted believers in the world today and learn from them.
Some know that we ran a home church in conjunction with our prison and inmate reintegration ministry in Hawaii. During that time we partnered with The True Light Church in Lahore Pakistan. We built a website for them and began raising money to print Bibles in Urudu and rescue families from Brick Kiln slavery.
As our Pakistani brothers, Pastor Tariq and Ammir said from the beginning, “We don’t care if they cut our heads, we will serve the Lord.”Rev 12:11. They’ve been true to their word through the years. A few of the True Light Church Pastors were severely beaten while preaching the gospel in Talaban-controlled areas along the Afghan border.
Perhaps you’ve heard about the recent Koran burning in Sweden.
As I write, the Pakistani body of Christ is suffering the consequences of this incredibly stupid act. It is being used as fuel to justify the persecution of Christians all over the Muslim world. Ammir told us today that Muslims are protesting and burning churches all over Pakistan.
As we would expect, The True Light church is planning a revival meeting in response.
A lot of Americans are angry about the uncontrolled illegal immigration at our border. Many are terrified of hordes of proverbial invading Huns coming to destroy our sacred and prosperous North American way of life. What many Americans fail to understand is that Latin American Society in general is deeply Christian and traditional especially when it comes to topics like gender, marriage, and family values. The people storming our border are told by the media in their respective countries that they have a free pass into the USA if they can get there. While there are always a few bad apples in every bunch the majority of these people just hope to make ten dollars an hour instead of ten dollars per day. I’m telling you this because it begs the question as we study 1 Peter; are we identifying with the contemporary exiles in our daily life? Lev 24:14
Are we numbered among the persecuted or the persecutors?
Our friend Karen from Honduras has been slowly making her way to the US border for the last six months. It’s a hard and incredibly dangerous journey, especially for a single woman. At one point she was kidnapped by Los Zetas but somehow managed to escape. She is a God-fearing woman with no desire or intention to cross the border illegally. That would have been safer and easier albeit more expensive. Her family could conceivably have paid a coyote, (a cartel-controlled human trafficker) to escort her safely to her final destination in the US. But Karen is trusting God.
Based on our conversations, her faith is well on its way to being found more precious than gold.
Karen is very special to us. She was the person of peace, Luke 10:5 whom we met when we moved to the mountains of Honduras at the beginning of 2020. She located the house in which we lived, introduced us to the community, and showed us the mountain trails between villages. We slept in her church when the landslide hit. Her family dug a few of our possessions out of the mud and Karen hand-washed the mud out of some of Cathy’s clothes. Then her sister provided another house for us to continue our Honduras mission for over a year before God called us to Greeneville TN.
Many believers in the first world recoil at the idea that God would allow let alone intend that His children should suffer. Yet scripture is abundantly clear that He has and does. Isa 53:10, Mat 10:24-25 Not because He hates us, but because He loves us. Rom 8:29 Granted these soulish flesh tents in which we reside for seventy or eighty years of eternity abhor the idea. Yet as we’ve said, God will have a bride “without spot or wrinkle”.Our faith will be tested. James 1:2-4 It will be proven genuine, and found to be more precious than gold tested by fire. Or it will be burned off as dross. 1 Cor 3:12-16
I find it poignant that gold does not burn. When it is purified the goldsmith subjects it to fire. Only the impurities and dross are burned. The goldsmith knows the gold is sufficiently purified when he can see his own reflection in it. Likewise, God will know we are purified when He sees His reflection in us.
While we can never be fully prepared in the natural when faced with the trials of our faith, it is worth learning about how others have endured their own. How have you, or will you respond when faced with a trial of your faith? Christian families in places like Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan are asking themselves these exact questions every day.