Thursday, December 9, 2010

Family Worship Warfare


Having family worship at home is difficult in this day when busyness steals time. Yet, it is more necessary than ever.
Secularists, Progressives and even Communists and other religions have made it their priority to grab the hearts and minds of youth in America, and they’d especially like to brainwash those raised in Christian homes.
The most successful propaganda usually always has some truth in it, according to Jacques Ellul, author of “Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes.”. If it were all lies, most people would resist it.
Where propaganda goes to work to change minds is in the “interpretation” of the truth, or the “slant” they place on the truth. It’s called “spin” today.
Mao Tse-Tung said propaganda can “force” people to become Marxist. His first techniques failed, but then he went to public discussion, criticism, persuasion and Marxist education, especially for children and he turned China to his way of thinking. This in spite of Mao executing an estimated two to five million people and several million were sent to labor camps.
To have the greatest effect, propaganda must base itself on existing tendencies, Ellul said, and not go against ingrained attitudes. Instead of going against what you believe, it gives you something else to believe--using your own desires and needs as a basis--and without knowing it, your attitudes are replaced.
Ellul said pre-existing attitudes fade quickly in real propaganda campaigns where it surrounds a person from morning to night, childhood to old age, in all he reads, hears, without giving him rest, a moment to pause, think or catch his breath.
Webster’s New World Dictionary says brainwashing is “to indoctrinate so intensively and thoroughly as to effect a radical transformation of beliefs and mental attitudes.”
In other words, to brainwash you is to not only change how you think, but also what you think. Furthermore, if you are brainwashed, it changes who you are.
Armies who keep prisoners of war often brainwash one person at a time, but Communists and Nazis brainwashed entire societies. In America, we not only have brainwashing in institutions of learning, but it’s done by gangs, politicians and the media. Gangs and governments can brainwash you so thoroughly you’ll kill your brother, grandmother or mother.
The media brainwashes you by portraying the majority of Christians as crooks and adulterers. A few high profile ministers have been great sinners, but if they break God’s laws, they are no longer Christians.

The media rarely mentions powerful things accomplished by Christians and Jews. Christian charities housed and fed the homeless and hungry around the world for centuries. Missionaries often bring free health care and medicine when they go to tell the world about Jesus. Christians are there, too, when disaster strikes.
Christians started and still operate most of the hospitals in the world.
Religion was the reason people learned to read. Since the Middle Ages, there has been near universal literacy among Jewish men because they were required to read the Torah by age 13.
Christians read the Jewish scrolls than read the letters of the Apostles to their congregations. The Reformation caused everyone to want to read Scripture and the first book published by Gutenberg was the Bible. Wycliff Translators are bringing literacy even to tribes with no written language and have done it many times in the past.
In America, education began with families teaching their children so they could read God’s Word and eventually that evolved into schools. Most of the universities and colleges in the United States were started by Christians, and they often contained seminaries or Bible schools.
Now you can’t even use the name of Jesus in a classroom in any of those universities unless it’s used as a swear word.
I thought the active war against faith in God was bad enough when we were raising our family. There came a time when I knew I would need to counteract at home ungodly teachings my kids were forced to study in school. That’s why I devoted time to studying sections of Josh McDowell’s book, “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” during our family worship time.
Norman Lear, a writer and television executive started the “People for the American Way,” to erode the faith of youth with television programming in response to the Moral Majority in the 1980s, and PAW is still going strong. And the church wonders why it loses a large percentage of youth—even when they’ve been raised in Christian homes!
Wise parents will guard their children’s hearts and minds, and inspire them to do the same thing by filling their minds with God’s Word, giving themselves completely to God, and by shunning even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
I remember family worship when my mother had eight of us in the house, and when there were only two of us eight children left. Dad wasn’t the type to lead it, but always listened carefully. God’s Word left an imprint on my life. David hid God’s Word in his heart so he wouldn’t sin. If it worked for him, it will work for us.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Future

TODAY I MET with the owners of a small Christian publishing company, and gave them a couple of book proposals. I enjoyed meeting them. They're special people, but I don't know if they will be interested or whether we would be a good fit for one another.

MY BOOKS ARE for teens, one fiction, the other a self-help volume.
It used to be when an author wrote a book, he knew there was a good chance it would never see the light of day. Now with self publishing, e-books, print-on-demand, the risks aren't so great--although you never know if people will read your words even if your book is published.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Even if I knew tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

Behind every apple you eat is someone who looked into the future with hope and imagination because an apple seed takes more than 10 years to produce an edible crop.

People keep writing, as I do because they feel they have a good story to tell, something to share, or something to teach. What a wonderful freedom!

For some reason, magazines and newspapers usually reach far more readers than books, no matter how we love books, even in this era when newspapers are folding and magazines are biting the dust. Knowing what is going on in the world from newspapers and writers we trust is a special privilege enjoyed only by those who live in a country based on freedoms and individual rights given to us by God.

In the Bible we're told God's Word will be a light to our paths, to show us the right way to go into the future, and illuminate the dangers that imperil our souls.

I plan to go forward into the days ahead continuing to write with faith, enjoying freedom in every area of my life, and praying God will have mercy on America so that we can keep these freedoms.

If you've dreamed of being a writer, today is the time to begin work on your tomorrows.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What does work mean to you?

Work consumes the majority of life, and I'm amazed how often it's mentioned in the Bible.

When I think of labor, I always remember my mother quoting a few choice verses such 2 Thessalonians 3:9-11, "He that doesn't work shouldn't eat" and the one that says something about "Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might."

Mom might have mentioned this one, too: "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands" (1 Thessalonians 4:10-12)

Here's a verse that lays it on even thicker than Mom did: "He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need (Ephesians 4:27-29).

But in looking through just a small section of Bible I discovered much more about work. The Bible talks about "a laborer being worthy of his hire" and another that says "When a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation" (Romans 4:3-5).

1 Corinthians 9 is an interesting chapter that talks about the laborer being allowed to partake of the fruit of his labor. It appears the Apostle Paul is into equal justice where those who work get their paychecks and give to charity willingly; instead of social justice where wealth is taken from those who have and given to those who have not.

Yet, I notice the majority of the verses that came up under "Work" in Bible Gateway teach us that it's not by "works" of righteousness that we have done, but by His mercy Jesus saved us. Yet, He points out we need to work to build the Kingdom, preaching the gospel so that others may have eternal life.

Work seems as vital to us as the sun is to life. Perhaps we should remember the warning, "Work for the night is coming" (John 9:3-5).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Points I often Ponder

A few of my own sayings:
"Unbelief is the opiate of the sinner."

"Satan makes sure that every Christian has a legitimate reason to quit serving God, and often another Christian becomes that reason."

That should not be.

"Beauty comes in all colors, shapes and sizes."

From my friend, Ruth: "Each phase of life is more exciting than the last when you serve Jesus."

From St. Peter: "A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him" 1 Peter 2:19. NIV

From my friend, Tania, quoting Jim Rohn, author and motivational speaker:
"You become the average of the five people you associate with most."

From St. John: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15).

Another from John: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

From the Apostle Paul: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control" (Galations 5:22).NKJ

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Today I had lunch with a group of folks who discussed the perilous times and the possibility that Jesus Christ could return at any moment.
"What worries me," someone said, "is whether our children know enough about Jesus' return for the Redeemed to even know it will happen in a twinkling of an eye--like a thief in the night.

There can be no doubt about it. Christ's coming will be unexpected by most people. The Bible says, "For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3.)

"Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him" (Matthew 24:42-44).

Jesus told a parable about 10 virgins, five of them wise and five foolish. Five were ready when the bridegroom came, but five others were locked out even though they created quite a fuss.

He told about two men working in the field. One was taken and another left. Two were in bed. One was taken and another left."

Jesus kept saying, "Watch. You don't know what hour your Lord will come." (Matthew 24.)

The only thing we can take to heaven with us is other people, and I hope every member of our family, our extended families, our friends, neighbors, and others with whom we've come in contact are ready for His coming, whether it is the catching away of the church, or walking through the shadow of death.

We need fear no evil, if God is with us.

Do you know how to be ready? Romans 10:9 tells us, "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation."

But there is more: obedience to God and His Word. Jesus told the rich young ruler to "Come. Follow me."

We aren't saved by our works, however. "It is not by works of righteousness that we have done, but by His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:4-6.)

Yet, because when we are truly born again and are made new creatures in Christ, we desire to walk in holiness. As we grow in Him and the fruits of His Spirit are manifest in our lives such as love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, our lives become different. Then when we receive the Gifts of the Spirit, they work through us in power to win and bless others.

There is so much to gain in knowing Jesus and His Word!

Made your reservation?

We just returned from a wonderful trip to visit family. Basic airfare from here to Florida was about the same price as filling up the gas tank in our van.
Cheap tickets usually go fast, and we had to make a quick reservation and pay immediately.
I'm ready for another trip, too. I made a reservation and my name was written down, according to the Book, but I don't know the date of "take-off."
The Commander-in-Chief gave some hints, "When you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; but the end will not come immediately. Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places and famines and pestilences and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. They will persecute you...for my name's sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony."
AMONG THE INSTRUCTIONS is this: "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that desolation is near."

Let me insert a comment here. This is the first time in history when perhaps the peace of the whole world hinges on Israel--a nation the size of New Jersey.

Another section of the instructions declares there will be distress of nations, men's hearts failing them for fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man (Jesus) coming in the clouds with power and great glory.
Now when these things begin to happen, He said, "Look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
THESE INSTRUCTIONS are from Luke 21. We have more detail in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18. "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
FOR THE LORD SHALL DESCEND from heaven with a shout and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
"Then we who are alive and remain SHALL BE CAUGHT UP together with them in the clouds. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
"Therefore, comfort one another with these words."

One more note: The tickets were paid for 2,000 years ago on the cross by Jesus Christ Himself.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


After all these weeks of discussion about the United States of America at risk, I wonder how to conclude. So many worrisome things are occurring, even beyond economic problems, unemployment, staggering national debt, terrorists’ bombing attempts and nations who hate us building nuclear bomb arsenals.
I worry about the spiritual state of our nation, where it seems everyone—even those who claim to be Christians—use the Lord’s name in vain for every emotion under the sun. Although churches schedule prayer meetings, few attend. During services, we pray for the offering and the folks in the hospital, but seldom do we storm the gates of heaven in earnest intercessory prayer for a generation going to hell because they don’t understand what the Gospel is about. Our secularistic society has effectively interfered with reaching young people with the truths of the abundant life Jesus gives on earth, that there is a divine purpose for each person to be here at this time in history, and that Jesus is their only hope of exiting from this world alive.
There are no easy answers to the mess in which we find ourselves. If we’re honest, we know perilous times have come. It’s tempting to be discouraged.
Then I remember Paul’s questions, inspired by God, to the church: “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:30-32KJ).
The Bible is full of promises about God’s faithfulness. Peter wrote, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
He adds, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control, and to self-control, perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love” (2 Peter 3-7NIV).
What are some of those promises?
Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8).
He will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)
He will supply all our needs. (Philippians 4:19)
He watches over us and even notices when a hair on our head turns loose. (Matthew 10:30-32).
He answers prayer. (Luke 11:9-11).
He gives joy and peace. (1 Peter4 7-9).
He will give us power to witness when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8).
If we resist the devil, he’ll flee from us, and greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world. (James 4:7).
We can overcome through the word of our testimony. (Rev. 12:10-12).
The promise of salvation and infilling of the Spirit is for us, our children and our children’s children. (Acts 2).
Through accepting Jesus as Savior and making Him Lord of our lives, we will live forever.(John 3:16).
Jesus will come again and take us to where He is, where we will live also. (John 14).
Sometimes it pays to read the back of the Book. Have you read Revelation 21 and 22 lately?
These words were told by Jesus to John in his vision: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
He continues with a promise and a warning, “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of water of life freely. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
In chapter 22, he declares, “ Behold, I am coming soon!” not once but three times. “My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done…. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city….”The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come! Whoever is thirsty let him come and drink of the water of life freely.'”

Monday, April 19, 2010

Perilous Times #6

How do we prepare for perilous times?

Preparedness is how the wise live. We prepare to meet God, prepare for His coming, and also prepare to live a life pleasing to Him.

Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow, but several scriptures show us the importance of being ready for possible hard times physically as well as spiritually.

Providing for people living under our roof is extremely important. Paul wrote to Timothy, "If any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (1 Timothy 5:7-9).

Before the perilous times during the flood, God told Noah to take every kind of food that was to be eaten and store it away in the ark" (Genesis 6:21).

One of the miracles in Joseph's life was the dream he interpreted about years of plenty followed by years of famine. The interpretation of the dream helped Egypt store up so much food for the coming famine, they had food to share, which benefitted Joseph's family.

One of the things notable about the Proverbs 31 woman is she provides food and clothing for her household.

During much of the last century, nearly every family kept two years' food supply in their cellars. These folks went through the Great Depression and didn't forget it There were long food lines, as there were in recent years in the Soviet Union when the nation collapsed and many people went hungry. Our parents and grandparents knew jobs weren't that secure in their day, and eating often depended upon good weather for crops, and good health for their chickens and other animals. So they stored as much food as they could.

Some religions, such as the Mormons, advise members to store a year's supply of food.

How should we prepare for the future in these perilous times?

Some folks are investing in gold. I'd think that's only for the wealthy, and is said to be more for insurance than investment. But we literally can save our change. I heard the other day it costs three cents to make a penny. Copper is so valuable today thieves strip houses under construction of their electric and telephone wire to get it. They're even stealing air conditioner compressors to get copper.

There's still a little silver left in other coins. Dump your change in a jar every day. Someday a penny might be more valuable than a paper dollar. If you find a wheat penny it's surely worth more than one cent.

Then, keep the pantry and freezer full. Put away 100 pounds of dry beans. They aren't very expensive and they'd fill tummies for a long time. If you never need them, you can donate them to a mission or charity. Beans will last for years if kept away from dampness. Beans estimated to be 10,000 years old buried in the tombs of Anasazi Indians were planted and grew, bringing back a variety that had been lost.

I made a list of things that would be good to store just by purchasing extra now and then when items are on sale. You can make your own list. But pray for wisdom to know what to store for your family's unique needs.

* Vegetable seeds, non-hybrid (If really hard times come, we could find a place to plant. I grow quite a bit in flower pots with the bottoms knocked out so the roots can go into the soil. My version of a "raised garden".)

* 100 pounds Pinto Beans or a variety your family likes
* Rice (At least 25 pounds)
* Other dried foods, including macaroni and cheese
* Cooking oil (This can turn rancid. Use before expiration dates.)
* Flour If you use quite a bit, aim for 50 pounds.(Put in freezer at least overnight to prevent weavils.)
* Sugar (25 pounts? It's easier to keep than flour)
* Corn meal (Freeze overnight).
* Soda, salt and baking powder
* Cereal (Watch expiration dates. Use oldest first.)
* Canned or dry milk (Great for gravy, cream soups, etc.)
* Canned fruit and vegetables (these will keep way beyond expiration dates)
* Canned meats
* Macaroni, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce with meat
* Coffee and tea.

Don't always throw away old prescriptions or medications. A pharmacist told me some drugs just lose strength, and won't do that stored in a cool, dark place. The Drug Handbook, however, says outdated Tetracyclaline, has caused kidney damage, so it must change chemically when it gets old. If possible, just keep extra prescriptions ahead if you can and don't let yourself run out of those you use regularly. Use older prescriptions first.

Buy up extra:

Hand sanitizer
Aspirin (low dose daily might prevent heart attack. Take a whole aspirin for heart attack symptoms as you head for the hospital.)
Diarrhea meds, Gatorade and Pedialyte
Benadryl and other allergy medications
Vitamins--multi, vitamins C,D,B-12, B-6,E, mega-3; iron (take iron only if anemic), cranberry pills for bladder and kidney health
OTC cold remedies you can take
Eye care
Hand, laundry and dishwashing soap
Clorox or other disinfectant
First-aid supplies


When you buy new supplies, put them behind the other products so the older is used first.

Some people store bottled water or water purification tablets

Friday, April 9, 2010

Perilous Times 5

Conservatives are hoping to overturn the health care bill by sending wise people to congress in November who will more wisely make health care affordable and accessible. They also pray our nation will cut spending, significantly reduce the national debt, restore freedoms and the ability for America to become great again.

Although I am only one person, there is power in my vote. Dick Morris says the most important thing we probably will do in 2010 is vote. The privilege of casting a ballot is the basis of "Government for the people and by the people" handed to us from our founding fathers and those who spilled their blood fighting for freedom. We can't just hope for good government, we need to cast a ballot for freedom every chance we get. The process begins with registering.

But should all of our efforts fail to get the desired result, we can love God, others, entertain strangers, share what we can and rejoice in the Lord because of the hope we have in Him.

This life isn’t all there is—and that’s why we don’t need to be afraid of the future.

The Psalmist wrote, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:5-7). Later, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit another writer wrote this to the Hebrews: “Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also…. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5-7).

Hope like this is why when the Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians from a jail cell, in every one of the four chapters he said, “Rejoice!” Sometimes he said it twice in one verse: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:3-5NKJ. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy (Philippians 2:16-18).

America has been blessed as no other country in the world. You can't put a price on freedom of speech, freedom to practice our own religion, and freedom to use our talents and abilities to provide for our needs--and often more than we need.

Today, as was prophesied would happen before Jesus comes back to catch away the church, perilous times have come (1Thessalonians 4:13-18). But we can look up, for our redemption draws nigh (Acts 1:11).

Thursday, March 25, 2010


For the first time since Social Security came into being in 1935, more is being paid out than comes in.

Technically, the fund isn’t broke. It holds trillions of dollars worth of IOUs the federal government owes but can’t pay because politicians borrowed the SS money and spent it. The U.S. government will need another loan to make up the difference between what comes in to Social Security and what goes out.

We also know Medicare is going broke, as well as many individuals, small businesses, corporations, financial institutions, banks, cities and states. The President already has said $50 billion will be cut from Medicare under the new health care bill, and though it’s been denied, we know care for the elderly will be rationed because Baby Boomers now are going into Medicare.

On March 21, when Congress passed the health care bill, some economists said it would bankrupt America or put the nation so far in debt many folks will pay 60 percent of their income in taxes---and saddle another generation and maybe more with massive debt. Taxes begin immediately, but most benefits won’t be implemented for four years. But the nation appears to be nearly bankrupt without health care added.

Behind this law was politicians’ call for “Social Justice” and the “right” of every person to health care. Those for government health care feel a certain “righteousness” for providing healthcare for the uninsured, especially with the term "Social Justice."

Taking care of the needs of everyone on U.S. soil sounds good. Yet, there are programs already in place for the uninsured and underinsured such as Community Health Centers where patients pay on a sliding fee scale according to income. We also have Medicaid, and the millions who could pay for insurance, but choose to spend their money for something else.

we do need changes in the system that allows lawyers to prey upon pharmaceutical companies, doctors, hospitals and file huge malpractice claims, taking a large chunk of the awarded money themselves. Torte reform would limit such claims to reasonable amounts to help the affected people and should limit the amount attorneys receive for handling the cases.

We also need health care to be available across state lines, and to have at least some stricter regulations for insurance companies.

The economy and the health-care law aren’t the only worrisome events in our nation. A number of people in the current administration have radical ideals of Saul Alinsky and the Cloward-Piven strategy. Both would collapse our current system of capitalist government and take away many of our freedoms.

Some say the C-P strategy has been creeping into our political system since the 1960s. This week Congress is debating controlling Wall Street and American business. When the government controls Wall Street, health care, student loans, own car companies, and keeps appointing judges that legislate from the bench, politicians probably will control the population.

Most likely, students attending Christian colleges will be denied loans if the health care bill is not overturned (for some reason it was attached to health care), and possibly all students will be told where they can attend college.

Political commentators say this administration is using “Social Justice” as a way to reach people of faith so they’ll fall into the maze moving us away from freedom, through socialism to Marxism and communism. Contrary to what they want you to believe, Jesus did not take away people’s coats or their money so he could transfer wealth to the poor. He told US to GIVE of our own free will, and that’s what Christians have done since the beginning.

I agree with commentator Glenn Beck that what we need is "Equal Justice", not "Social Justice." Dictators in the last century used Social Justice, and other nice sounding words to grasp power, redistribute wealth and control people. Those thought inferior or disagreeable were shot or incinerated.

The first time I saw television news, Castro’s men were mowing down Cubans with machine guns in front of burial pits. That is where Castro’s “Social Justice” was carried out. Castro's Social Justice is why many Cubans risked their lives swimming or jumping in overloaded boats trying to reach the United States.

Freedom is a precious gift. The Pilgrims came to America not to discover a land of opportunity, but for religious freedom.

What are we doing with our freedom in these perilous times? Are we in church when we can be? Are we openly witnessing to the lost and loving them into the Kingdom? Are we reading and memorizing the Word in case our Bibles are taken away as they have been in other nations?

As one of my favorite pastors says, “Remember our future doesn’t lie in the hands of politicians—it’s in the hands of God.”

We can't forget that. But we can vote, and “Walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:15-17.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Perilous Times: Prepare for the future 3

My father lived by Romans 13:7-- "Owe no man any thing."

Dad hated debt. The most he ever made in his life was $60 a week. He worked many days during the Great Depression for $1 a day and was happy to get that.

Mom and Dad had eight children, and I was the youngest. After Mom died and Dad remarried, he took reponsibility for two more. Just having a family that size is enough to put most people into dire poverty. But my parents raised a family of hard workers, and our poverty wasn't dire. Sure, we didn't have an extra dime, but our poverty in those days didn't come close to the poverty that chokes families affected by alcohol and drug addictions, abuse, greed, hatred, and rebellion toward God.

We were rich with the love of God and one another. The willingness to work made us rich with satisfaction in what we earned. The chickens and animals we raised for food, and the fresh vegetables and fruits we grew in the garden and preserved made the table rich with bounty.

But my father's commitment to stay out of debt also was a blessing. Although he didn't make much money, he bought land at tax sales and later resold it. He made a garage into a rental house, and when some of the children married, the upstairs became another apartment. He built a new small house on the back side of our land, then sold it.

The day he bought a shiny new Chevy with cash was a big day. It wasn't nicer than anyone else's--but it was paid for.

With today's economy, experts who study history and look at the future say getting out of debt should be a high priority for preparing for perilous times. We need to watch how we spend our money. Do we really need any more clothes? Is it necessary to eat out so often? Are all the luxuries in our homes necessary? Do we need the best and highest-priced television cable packages?

Do we try to save on utilities and other expenses that aren't fixed?

If we keep track of where the money goes, we'll be surprised at how much goes into a black hole that has no significant purpose.

There are definite advantages to being raised poor. I know I can get by on much less than I spend now.

Consumer Credit Counseling teaches there are two types of people: Those who spend because they think only of immediate gratification, and those who think only of the future. Their financial advisers say it's best for married couples to be from opposite groups. People who think only of tomorrow don't enjoy life. Those who live only for this moment never have any money and usually are in debt.

I think all of us can develop the ability to mix saving/spending into our characters. To get out of debt, we might need to think more of the future, but when we accomplish that feat--we'll have a wonderful time in the present.

Doesn't that sound like a good way to survive perilous times?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Perilous Times 2

Even in these critical times, God is still faithful. We can't forget that. People still find hope and joy in Jesus! Just about two weeks ago a young Jewish man visited a church near us as part of his rabbinical studies about other religions. Suddenly he connected the Old Testament to what he saw and heard there and accepted Jesus as Savior, Lord and Messiah. However, now he may suffer for his new faith. His parents might disinherit him.

In the midst of revival and outpouring of God’s spirit, Satan still is at work. We should never forget our enemy goes about as a roaring lion seeking those he can devour.

As the time of Christ’s return nears, evil men and seducers will get more numerous and aggressive, Paul warns. In 2 Timothy 3 he suggests the unthinkable: Those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution, and if we deny Him, He will deny us.

These are unsettling thoughts for Americans. Oh, how we have enjoyed religious liberty!

In most other countries, Christians understand Paul’s warnings well. What does the Lord, in Paul’s inspired writing in 2 Timothy 3-4, tell us to do in perilous times?

1. Remain faithful to the things we have learned. We need to read the Word!Paul talks about people following fables, and because of their lusts they will not endure sound doctrine but choose teachers that will satisfy their itching ears (tell them what they want to hear). The Word says to turn away from these people and their teachers.
2. Paul pauses to remind that “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and help us to realize what is wrong in our lives. The Word teaches us how to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God has called us to do” (2 Timothy 3:16NLT).
3. Keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering. Work at bringing others to Christ….Be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage(2 Timothy 4:5,2).
Paul did most of his writing from prison. He understood hard times and persecution. But the purpose of Paul’s letter to Timothy, which he expected to be read in the churches, was “that all the Christians would be filled with love that comes with a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith. Love is at the top of the list, and the type of love he speaks about is quite different from the usual.
There is much to pray and think about, and goals to achieve in these perilous times as well.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

HOW TO PREPARE FOR PERILOUS TIMES--introduction to a series

The news about our nation’s condition is unsettling. Big corporations, banks, individuals, cities and multiple states are bankrupt or going that way. The U.S. government could be close to bankruptcy. Greece is teetering on the edge of financial disaster.

It doesn't make any difference how much money we Americans have in the bank if the FDIC is bankrupt, stocks and bonds become worthless, and our nation collapses.

Even more bad news plagues us. Our freedoms seem to be in jeopardy. A judge canceled the National Day of Prayer. Our religious liberties have been under attack for decades. Immorality and rebellion probably are near the highest point of history.

Brings to mind the Apostle Paul’s words, “In the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self control.

“They will be cruel and have no interest in what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

In Chapter 4, Paul continues to describe the problem. “A time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear. They will reject the truth and follow strange myths.

Does that sound like America in 2010?

I hope it doesn’t describe you or the folks you hang out with. I see myself in parts of it.

So, what should we do? I’ll share some of Paul’s solutions in future blogs.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Old Friends

Facebook brought people back into my life recently that I hadn't heard from in years.

Many had been in my Sunday school classes in various churches. With Les's railroad job, we moved many times since we wed.

Others are among friends, and what great people they are! That's the joy of changing your environment often. Moving gives you the opportunity to enlarge your circle.

Some that I've connected with were teen-agers and a few were children when I saw them last. But they were interested in connecting with me, and what a privilege! They grown up to be fine specimens, and they are examples of what a difference it makes when you give your life to Jesus.

Critical people have told me over the years they believe non-Christians are better at relationships than Christians. I laugh at that. I've met some of the greatest people on earth among the hundreds of Christians we fellowshiped with in Colorado, Utah and Missouri. Perhaps a few rotten potatoes surfaced, but I'd estimate you can't ask for a better friend than 98 percent of these people. Yes, they were quite ordinary in most ways. Very few were rich or famous. They probably had a few flaws, but they wanted to be a "vessel of honor" and many were close to pure gold.

That gives me a little glimpse of what Heaven will be like. From what I can tell most of my friends are going there. What a time we're going to have!