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6/25/2020

Razing Awareness


So, I haven't blogged in a while. Mostly because, I believe we live in a world where we freedom of speech is no longer valued.  Legally I can say things, but in the court of public opinion I can be ruined for something I say, or have said in the past, regardless of context or meaning.
With that in mind, it really serves very little purpose to anyone to speak publicly about one's convictions.  Rather than helping others, a blog serves as a list of wrongdoings that someone can use against you any time in the future.
So why write today?

Because I want to give my fellow believers in Christ out there, a few pieces of food for thought.  I'll try not to lead you to the same conclusions I've made, because frankly, I'm not really sure where any of this is going, but follow along with the things I'm seeing for a moment.

awareness - Refresh Mental Health

-Covid-19 We all voluntarily let the government of the U.S. violate our constitutional rights and we did not say one word of organized disagreement (pre-George Floyd).  I mean it's really hard to argue with.  Now of course, people are starting to argue, but for the most part the damage is done.  We proved that we would bow down and let government invoke all kinds of (arguably crazy) policies in the interest of public health.

What did I conclude from all of this?  - I saw first hand how the entire world, entire cultures, economies, businesses, futures, could be changed, in an extremely SHORT time span.  The amount of (hopefully temporary) devastation caused by this Shelter in Place is so far widespread I can't even fathom all of it.  The lasting impression this has made to me is how incredibly FAST everything changed.  In order to attain some of the Revelation level events, I have always said that the world would need to change drastically before some of those events could happen, and for that reason, we still have a long way to go.  But this country is forever changed, and impacted drastically in a matter of 90 days or less.  Business gone under, food supply chain put at risk, popular opinions changed, graduations and weddings missed, or cancelled.

This is more than an interruption of life.  This is an indicator that things can change VERY VERY rapidly with VERY LITTLE push back from society.   This is a major ingredient in the events of Revelation needing to occur, and it has truly made some folks reconsider their pre-trib mid trib, post trib theories on the rapture.

Ask anyone older than 65, have they ever seen the country this crazy before?

Item of Interest: things can change faster than you think.


Next item up:

-Covid restrictions target religious groups: May 22, 2020 - The CDC attempts to release 'guidelines' that rather than saying 'large group gatherings' specifically say 'guidelines for worship', but there was a battle over it with the current presidential administration. 

Problem: Why is this organization targeting and naming religious gatherings specifically? And why then, after the Minneapolis Floyd protests did protestors get the okay to gather?

Item of Interest: Yet another indicator that religious freedom is being targeted.


Next up:


-Supreme Court ruling  6/15/2020 - Justice Neil Gorsuch, effectively argues that even though the word “sex” back in 1964 could not possibly have included LGBTQ identity behaviors or relationships or anything related thereby, nonetheless Gorsuch in his opinion for the court said that the law does mean that now even though it did not mean that then. (from one of my favorite news editorials on this topic: https://albertmohler.com/2020/06/17/briefing-6-17-20)
Why is this significant?  This decision while sounding 'okay' to many, creates a major problem for religious organizations.  This was such a political hot potato, that even though this wasn't the job of the Supreme Court, the people whose job it was to legislate... Congress, are simply happy that the Judicial branch handled that issue.  So.. Legislative being done by the Judicial and no one bats an eye.  Okay... 


Problem: all the news coverage (as expected) is using terms like 'obstacle' and 'discrimination'.  These are words often applied in the news coverage to indicate that this ruling is a good thing, in keeping with public opinion, and now, thankfully there only remain a few 'obstacle's in their path.   Guess who... religious organizations that until this ruling could say that they refused to hire people who did not keep in line with their religious convictions.  Because it sexual identity was not a legally considered entity, and it now is.

It just became that much harder, for a church to avoid hiring a lesbian pastor if they don't want to, simply because she's a lesbian.   I'll leave that for you to decide if it's a good or bad thing.  I firmly believe we should be showing love to everyone of all identities and preferences.  I am only making the point that it is becoming harder and harder for religious organizations to still be able to practice their religious freedoms.


Item of Interest:  religious freedoms are at risk and the Supreme Court made it even more problematic.

Next up:

Microchip rumors around a Corona Vaccine - You've probably heard these rumors that Bill Gates wants to vaccinate the world and implant microchips. This rumor is a little out of control, and it derives from something Gates said before Corona.  "Rumours took hold in March when Mr Gates said in an interview that eventually "we will have some digital certificates" which would be used to show who'd recovered, been tested and ultimately who received a vaccine. He made no mention of microchips."

Problem: Before Corona, Gates was partnering to help get the world vaccinated and find a way to track the medical histories of people in developing countries, so they don't accidentally get the same vaccine twice.  Corona brought attention to this.  The issue really to me, is that the tech exists to do this, AND the reason to do this seems very acceptable (except that there is a large contingent of anti-vaxxers in the U.S.)  


Item of Interest: The technology, the motivation, and the financial ability now exists and is combined to install some sort of 'digital tracking' onto individuals.  This should bring to mind the ideas of 'mark of the beast'. I do not say that to scare you because Scripture clearly tells us, that it has to be an open choice. Christians are forever talking about what form the mark could take (or has taken).  Do not worry too much about this, just be aware.  The point I'm making here is that, all the ducks are in a row now, to make this happen.  EVEN.. the economic side of things.  Airpay, Paypal, Venmo, Googlepay, all of it is lined up and ready to go.

Next up:

Covid Trackers - Check your phone, you likely already have one.  Google and Apple rolled out Covid tracking apps on your phones. And right now, I can't find a way to uninstall mine.  It works much like the 'tile' keychain works.  If you've tested positive for Covid 19, then when someone's phone nears your phone, they get a notification that they are near a Covid infected person.  Your phone is tracking the bluetooth id's of the phones around them and checking an online database.  (details here: 
https://9to5mac.com/2020/05/19/how-to-turn-on-off-covid-19-contact-tracing-iphone-ios/
https://support.google.com/android/answer/9888358?hl=en

They did this without most people knowing.
Again, I'm not here to tell you how to interpret these things, although I'm sure my natural bias will present itself.

Item of Interest: we are currently being tracked at some level and also reporting on one another through this app. Do I fully know how much data the gov't is getting from this? No.  Do I care if the gov't is tracking us right now?  I've just always assumed they have been, that's not why this is important.


Let's add it up:

-Currently you very likely have a tracking app on your phone
-the Law is making religious freedoms a little tougher to come by
-Popular opinion is being shaped by the press against religion in many cases
-Churches are closed, voluntarily, because the legality of opening is difficult.

-We know the culture can now completely change quickly.
-Technology exists that was spoken about in Revelation.
-The world is in general chaos right now with China, India and Pakistan in conflict (and they have nukes).


Draw your own conclusions.  I'll tell you mine.

  • I am making sure that every day I am drawing closer to my Lord God.
  • I am committing Scripture to memory like a gunslinger loads bullets on his belt, preparing for the worst.
  • I am not preaching doom and gloom to the world, because our Lord Jesus Christ fills me with hope.
  • I am staying alert and aware, because we're supposed to be watching for His return.
  • I'm keeping a close eye on Israel and the Temple, and boning up on my prophecy.
  • Friends, my mom and I have always discussed prophecy and she has always hoped the Lord would return in her lifetime.  I was never convinced of that. I saw far too many things that had to all happen in convergence in order for some of the Revelation events to even seem plausible.
  • The last 100 days, I've seen things happen so quickly and so dramatically that my eyes are open wide as I wonder... just how far are things going to go?
  • If... everything returns to normal, I will be indelibly aware of how fast things can change, and never again will I assume that the events Scripture has described are eons away. I'm convinced now, that they could be less than a year away at any time now.
  • So.... if you were convinced, that the Lord could be returning any day now... how would that impact your relationship with Him?
  • I'm not carrying a sign decrying the end of the world is nigh.  Because it could still be some time away. But I am telling my friends and my kids, to take their relationship with Christ very seriously, don't let it get rusty.  Spend time with the Lord, grow close to Him.
  • If you're in a place where you've been a believer for a while, and you're sort of coasting now, you know there is sin in your life and you've told yourself 'when this fun is over I'll repent and be cool again with God.'  get cool now.
  • If you've always planned to finally get a daily devotion time going.... get it going now.
  • If you've just been putting off your relationship with God, about getting serious about God for one reason or another... get serious now.
  • While I am excited that we may be getting closer to seeing our Lord, I am adopting His stance to always be trying to redeem the lost, bringing people into His kingdom showing love and humility.


Don't get complacent in your faith. 


Even if the tribulation is eons away, this world is hurting. Racism is rearing its violent head in a very public way, and people are stressed, and without hope.  Christ is hope.  Let Him shine through you.  (Extra bright because we need to maintain 6 feet).

Its harder to show compassion and empathy and love with all these new restrictions, so we have to try even harder.  We need to be intentional folks for us, for our families and for our neighborhood.
Well that's my take on things, make up your own mind.

I'm sure I didn't get all the facts precisely correct, I'm sure I was wrong in a few places. I'm sure folks could nitpick my points or use them against me in the future.  I'm not really interested in arguing, and I'm fully prepared to accept I made mistakes or was wrong in a few of these things.

My only goal was to help people open their eyes a little, if they aren't already wide open.

Thank you


















4/13/2020

Survival Scenarios

Who Designs the Fiendish Obstacle Courses for "Wipeout," and How ...

I would like you to imagine in your minds eye the following four
scenarios as they relate to faith and trust.  If you recall the tv. show
'Wipeout' try to imagine one of those obstacle courses. It's a course
that if you were to mess up on an obstacle there is a real consequence,
you fall, or get hurt, or land in mud, slime, water, whatever it is.  So
each obstacle has a certain amount of anxiety and fear involved and
there is risk.

You have been invited to this obstacle course on Friends Night. The
rules are simple, you run the course, while your friend talks you
through each obstacle.  So you chose your best friend for the job.  The
one who has never deceived you, doesn't like to pull pranks on you, one
that you trust implicitly.

Scenario 1: It is a bright sunny day, you can see the obstacle course

clearly in front of you, and already you see you can do this level
easily.  Your friend is visibly nearby on a walkway so they can see
perfectly.  You can hear their voice well.  The course begins.  You see
in front of you a log across your path and you friend says 'Take two
steps forward and then jump over the log."  You see the obstacle, agree
with your friend, and execute their orders perfectly.  The next obstacle
is a rotating arm at your eye level, your friend says "duck and crawl
forward 20 paces."  You see the obstacle, agree that is good advice, and
perform perfectly.  Doing things in this way makes the course easy and
you pass it with flying colors.

In this scenario, you built trust with your friend. You could see what
needed to be done and agreed with their instructions.  While you didn't
have to call much on FAITH, what you did do was build TRUST.  Trust as I
am defining it, is how much you believe what someone is saying is true. 
FAITH as I'm defining it here, is putting action behind that trust and
actually doing something. You trusted the instructions to leap over the
log were correct and when you leapt over it, you applied FAITH.

In this scenario, would it be hard to trust your friend?  The major
difficulty might instead be to ignore your friend's instructions and do
the course on your own.  Maybe your friend would be impressed at how 'in
sync' you were because you did what they were about to tell you do
before they said it?  Maybe you didn't need your friend at all?  But by
doing it the way you did, you came through the course, and your
relationship grew stronger.

Scenario 2: It is the same bright and sunny day. Your friend is visible

and clearly heard, only this time they are on a raised platform and have
a different vantage point than you.  The obstacle course is easily
viewable and the two of you work like a team just like you did before,
going through several obstacles until you come to a new one.  This one
has a large wall in front of you with painful looking spikes on it.  It
also has a clear path around it.  It is obvious to you that you should
take the path around the wall, and yet your friend's instructions are
"Run hard at the wall and smash into it."  The instructions contradict
what your gut tells you to do.

In this scenario, your trust in your friend is challenged. You have to
decide if you trust them more than yourself. What you do next determines
where you're placing your FAITH.  You decide, they have a better view
and so you trust them, and in faith, charge at the wall.  As you collide
with the wall, there is a small amount of pain but not as bad as you
anticipated, and the wall collapses, you land on top of it, spikes
having receded, and move forward through the course to completion.  At
the end you ask someone else who completed the course, 'what did you do
at the wall' and they tell you 'I went around it of course, but as I
did, this large boxing glove hand came out and hit me right in the gut. 
Took the wind out of me. I nearly fell!"  You both arrived at the same
place, but your way, though you incurred some pain, was less painful. 
(you could really paint many scenarios here for what happened on the
other path, they could have been completely unharmed, or taken to a
different location, or fallen into the water, it doesn't matter what
happened on that other path.)

In this scenario, your TRUST was tested, and your FAITH prevailed.  But
the temptation there was to go your own way and ignore the advice of
your friend. But because you didn't, you were rewarded in finding that
your friend's advice was a better way, even though it did cost you some
pain, it didn't cost you as much as your way would have.  By behaving in
that way your trust and faith in your friend has increased and your
relationship grew stronger. You're more likely to trust them on the next
level when they tell you to do things that don't make sense.

Thick Fog Covers Forest Landscape Stock Footage Video (100 ...


Scenario 3: A thick fog sets in.  You're standing at the beginning of

the next level of the course, and your friend is no longer visible but
completely audible.  You can hear their voice very clearly, but you can
not see them, nor the obstacle in front of you.  You begin, but this
time, are a bit slower and more cautious because you're robbed of your
ability to see ahead of you.  But because you've gone through the first
two levels with your friend, you trust them.  They say duck, you duck,
they say jump you jump. Each time you do, things go well.  But there is
a constant anxiety because you can't see.  At one point they say "this
next part will be tricky, you're doing great, but there are several
obstacles in a row here, we're going to take them one by one." 
Together, you listen and follow and get through it to the end!!! YeS!

In this scenario, you may have been nervous because you couldn't see
ahead of you.  Maybe you were tempted to never step onto the course at
all.  Maybe you were half way through the course and when you got to the
point of 'this next part will be tricky' you wanted to hear ALL the
instructions at once so you could plan and react.  As your friend only
gave you one instruction at a time you may have wanted to shout out
'tell me the next 10 steps before I proceed!'   (It has been my life
experience that I rarely get more than the instructions for the next
step, though I'd love to have the entire course laid out for me that
doesn't seem to be how this teamwork works. ) But in the end you got
through, and now you have a deep faith based in 3 successful levels of
this course.

Scenario 4: The thick fog remains, you can not see the course, and now

you can barely hear your friend.  Fear sets in.  You know this level is
likely the hardest and you can only faintly hear your friend's voice in
the distance.  What happened? Why this change? Is there a CB radio?  Did
you wander to the wrong location? Why can't you hear them?!  Never the
less, the bell rings and it's time to begin.  You can barely make out
your friend's words.  Did they say 'duck' or 'jump?'  You're uncertain. 
The more you move, the more noise is made and the less you can hear
them.  What is going on? How can you do this? You can't see on your own,
and now, you can't hardly hear them?  All the work you've put into
building your faith and trust with your friend, seems pointless now, and
you have no idea how to succeed at this level.

What's the first thing you need to do?  Do you step out on your own and
grope around and feel and hope? Do you try to repair communication with
your friend, figure out why you can't hear them?  Do you cup your ears
and  try to listen harder?  By now you have learned that you can't
really succeed without either seeing the course yourself or hearing your
friend.  So which problem do you try to rectify first? Or do you even
try to fix either and just begin walking forward?  This level seems like
a cruel trick and yet, so many times in our lives we come to this scenario.

These scenarios are very likely to be obvious to you at this point. The
obstacle course is my life.  My friend is Jesus Christ, the all-knowing,
all-loving, humble savior of my soul.  I've found myself in all these scenarios
at one point or another in life, and I've come to the decision that my
favorite scenario, is scenario 3.  It seems that as long as I have a
close relationship with my Lord, I feel at ease doing the things He
instructs me to do while at the same time, I don't know 'what comes next'. This is scary and exhilarating but also forces me to rely on Christ and keep my ear tuned to Him. None of these scenarios are easy, the obstacle course without a friend is hard enough and requires athleticism and
confidence to even attempt. With a friend, with the Lord, it may not be
any easier, but you have something outside of yourself, with your best
interest at heart, helping you. You're not alone through it, and there
is a way to be victorious. There is someone at the end to celebrate
with.  There is hope. Even in Scenario 4, it is not hopeless because you
can hear that voice, all you have to do is focus on it, and by doing so,
it gradually becomes louder.  There is hope, there is help, you're not
alone.


There is a 5th scenario. One that I don't like to contemplate much.  It

is identical to Scenario 4, thick fog, inability to see very obstacle,
but in this scenario there is no voice of the friend.  You have no
friend that you trust that much, you haven't built that relationship, no
one seems to want to be your friend, or you have a hard time making
friends, or a hard time trusting people.  There are a lot of people who
have succeeded and failed at live in this scenario.  Sure you can get
through the obstacle course alone who needs a friend anyway?  But when
you get through it at the end, there is no one to hug, to jump up and
down with, no one as excited about your success as you, no one invested
in your win.  No one to celebrate with.  In those darkest hours there is
no hope. As you come to the end of yourself, there is nothing external
you have built trust in that you can rely on.  The dark times have no
light.

My friend is Jesus Christ. I have spent my life investing in trusting
Him and having faith in Him and He has never let me down. It took a
while to find Him, to find the real Him.  Lots of people want to tell
you about Him, but there's really only one way to truly get to know Him
and that's by reading the Gospels of the Bible yourself, and
understanding them.  Sometimes they can be hard to understand, so I find
it's best to find a translation where the words make sense, and then if
you get stuck on something, to really seek out truthful answers. 
There's a lot of charlatans out there who want to tell you about Jesus. 
It's best to just seek Him out on your own through the Bible, so you
know you won't be steered wrong.  I started in the Gospel according to John.

I met Jesus Christ when I was young, and at first He seemed like a bunch
of rules I had to follow, but as I went through life, and ran into those
difference Scenarios I listed, I learned to trust Him, and to love Him.
Oh man how I love Him.  The phrase people use these days is 'He's my
person.'  He gets me, my thoughts and dreams, He loves me in a personal
way.  He is my best friend of all time. I know that's odd to say seeing
as how I've never seen Him face to face, but I am super excited about
the day that I get to.  I want to rush through the obstacle course we
call life, and get there.  That's what's waiting for me at the end of
it.  Not riches or prizes like the t.v. show, but getting to see my best
friend, face to face, and hopefully give Him a big long bearhug. Like
one of those awkward hugs where other people are looking on going 'okay
man, that's long enough... wow that's a long hug! Enough, He's a busy
guy! Let Him go.'  And then Jesus says 'nah, let him be, I'm loving this
hug! I've waited a long time for this one.'

First Day In Heaven Wrapped Canvas

note:
This really isn't meant as way to define FAITH vs TRUST.  Some see FAITH
as being TRUST in spiritual things, whereas TRUST is believing in
scientific or empirical evidence.  To me the two words can be used
interchangeably in this example, save for the fact that there is an
action element to FAITH whereas TRUST doesn't always need to be acted
on, thought often is. Also I hate when people tell me 'how to feel' in
their writing. I am guilty of doing that in this, and I chose to do so
because of brevity, but also, this came to my mind as more of a sermon
than a blog entry, so it's meant to be spoken so you can hear the
emotion coming from me.