Death, Devastation, and God

f2afa1eb-a47e-49cf-ae3b-db89fc586ebc_w1024_q10_s

Those close to the plight of Armenians in Karabakh deeply lament with yesterday’s surrender, 11/9/2020 at 5pm EST. There is plenty to grieve. The onslaught of radical Islam jars open the storehouse of anguish in every Armenian.

War crimes and terrorism launched against Karabakh – Artsakh for Armenians – ignited and unified hearts around the globe. Campaigns, rallies, protests, and prayer meetings rang through every country with desperate cries for intervention, justice, mercy and outright miracles.

Miracles needed indeed for a small volunteer army against the military wealth of Turkey and Azerbaijan and the endless supply of hired mercenaries from numerous Islamic countries. I beseeched God, day and night, fasting and crying out the battle cries of David for Armenia…

‘Rescue them O Lord, from evil men; protect them from men of violence, who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day…Keep them O Lord from the hands of the wicked…Hear O Lord, our cry for mercy. O Sovereign Lord, our strong deliverer, who shields our head in the day of battle, do not grant the wicked their desires…do not let their plans succeed…

But zeal and faith were not enough to overcome the vast enemy nor the inner battles of raging COVID, dysentery, and growing despair amongst the soldiers that fought without a break.

I had planned all night prayer last night, postponing today’s Bible fellowship with a precious new believer Raquel. With Armenia’s surrender however, all night prayer canceled. Somehow I slept well and awoke with the Lord’s words strongly pressed upon my heart,

“My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, My servants would fight…”

I texted Raquel and asked if she wanted to fellowship – “sure!”. I shared with her how the situation turned out in Armenia,

“I am heartbroken for the destruction, bloodshed and death of so many and the rejoicing of evil people”

Raquel replied,

“We can only do what Jesus said, pray and do not give up and trust in the Lord.”

“Evil people will always rejoice in this world because Satan rules this world. Jesus already tells us that many will die in His name. The Armenian Christians that have been slain will be risen again by the Lord when the time has come and we will win this fight and reclaim the Earth that Father God made for us.”

Remarkably, for a new believer, she went on…

“I know you are heartbroken. Our deaths and suffering are inevitable. We all have a date reserved for each one of us to die. Sadly, many of those Armenians have met the last day of their flesh life. Remember though, they will live in eternity and they will no longer suffer. They are already with Jesus. Remember He said to the convicted man who believed in Him, crucified next to Him, that he would be with Him today. And as are the Armenian Christians who died in His name. He has wiped every tear from their eyes….”

I had not considered Armenia’s defeat, losing Karabakh. I had truly believed that the Lord God would move as He did against evil armies like the Moabites, the Ammonites, and Assyrians. One angel, at His command, could change the battle. I was sure, certain that I would travel to Armenia in the spring, hear the church bells ring at Sushi and burst with rejoicing.

I know this world is passing away. Darker days are coming for us all. I had such zealous hope though for the Armenians to stand and prevail after years of massacres, genocide, and persecution.

The Lord did not “strike the enemy with fear, panic and confusion” and sadly, He did not “bring Erdogan to shame.” But soldiers were baptized on the battlefield. Zoom prayer meetings joined me with Armenian believers whom I never met, to cry out for Armenians and pray for the enemy as well.

In my despair, the Lord’s very words gripped my heart with the truth I wasn’t reaching for and uplifted my heart through the new believer I am mentoring.

“My Kingdom is not of this world”

“…pray and do not give up and trust in the Lord.”

Pressing on….

“Overcome Evil With Good” For Real!

Syrian-mercenary-3

Interview with captured mercenary Yusuf Alaabet al-Hajii, 11/4/2020

“He told us we should slaughter, kill all Armenians…Abu Hamsha, as well as the Turkish and Azerbaijani servicemen, were telling us that each of us would receive an extra 100 dollars for beheading an Armenian. They also armed us with long knives. Those of us who were afraid were given some special drugs by the Azeri military, and they stopped feeling fear after taking them. I have personally witnessed how the Azerbaijani armed forces servicemen were giving the drugs to our Syrian guys, the drugs were round tablets, I haven’t tried it myself, but many of our guys did,” the Syrian mercenary said.

Those are the words of hired mercenary Yusuf Alaabet al-Hajii, recruited from the village of Ziyadiya, Syria. The full interview can be viewed here: https://armenpress.am/eng/news/1033852.html?fbclid=IwAR3tM5G5LqtIfRobD1i9_FRbQi27y8BBIEw5QXQ-Ed2G3pmR2u0YhqeRE3Y

The mercenary described in detail how they were approached with a $2000 monthly payment promise and, along with 500 others that day, boarded one of the 10 buses to a civilian airport where they flew on Turkish planes to Azerbaijan.

Upon their destination, they met up with 500 previously recruited Syrian fighters. He noted that the Turkish and Azeri soldiers both had body armor however the Syrian fighters had none. Commanded by both Turkish and Azeri military, they were ordered to proceed in front of Azeri fighters, into Karabakh to capture the village and slaughter all civilians….

“When we approached the Armenian village, we came under fire, and also mortar fire, in this period 15 of us were killed, the operation was a failure and we had to escape into the mountains. When we fled, I wasn’t wounded yet, we were lost, we went by a path until we found the Azerbaijanis who had accompanied us, they took us through some path, but during this the Armenians began shooting at us. I got wounded, I was wounded for 5 days, no one asked me anything, no one was interested in me. After three days, I began moving towards the Armenian positions, the Armenians gestured me from distance telling me I am safe, when I approached them they took me to their position, treated my wounds, gave me food and water. They took me to safety, they didn’t harm me, they helped and treated me well, may God bless them,” the mercenary said.”

(video of interview here: https://en.armradio.am/2020/11/04/second-syrian-mercenary-capture-by-artsakh-forces-interrogated-video/)

Although the Azerbaijani army continues to kill Armenian POW’s, (https://www.kazakhstannews.net/news/266843554/azerbaijani-troops-kill-more-armenian-prisoners-of-war) this is not the first news article of Armenians utilizing desperately needed medical resources on an enemy captive.

While I beseech readers and others to join in fervent prayer to strengthen and undergird Armenians and thwart the enemy’s onslaught, God is doing more. He enabled the Armenians to “overcome evil with good’. In the words of Yusuf Alaabet al-Hajii:

“I want to thank Armenians, they helped me, they treated me, they saved my life, we were wrong to have come here, they – the Armenians, are much better that we thought, they treated us, treated us well, may God bless them. I, Yusuf Alaabet al-Hajji, am stating that anyone who is planning to go to Azerbaijan should not take that step, because Armenians are very good people, they saved me from death, they helped me. I am urging you all, if they try to deceive you and attempt to lure you with money against this country and Armenians, don’t go, even if you are poor, it is better to stay poor then to go to Azerbaijan and fight for money. The Azerbaijanis call the Armenians infidels, but they themselves are the infidels, we are infidels for coming here and fighting against these good people, I stayed wounded for five days in Azerbaijan and no one helped me, but the Armenians did, they helped me and treated my wounds,” he said.

Thank you Lord!

“Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord. On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good…”

Please continue to pray!

Oh Lord, Arise and Save!

Phosphorus Bombs, banned by International Law, pummel the rich forests of Karabakh, creating an environmental disaster.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/azerbaijani-forces-use-white-phosphorus-over-karabakh-video/

MAJOR: Azerbaijan Uses Banned White Phosphorus Munitions in Nagorno-Karabakh (VIDEO)

The crisis in Karabakh is a multiple humanitarian catastrophe, driven by the Azerbaijanis but, without a doubt, charged by the Turkish government and their pledge to resurrect the Ottoman Empire.

To sum up the dire situation, the population of Karabakh, approximately 150,000, was attacked on September 27th when Azerbaijan staged a surprise bombing. The daily horror in this Armenian enclave escalates daily as Turkish employed mercenaries and Jhadists are launched into this battle.

Cluster bombs, Turkish drones, phosphorous bombs hammer the land and people….

Thousands of Armenians are displaced and winter’s coming….

How does a rural enclave of villages stand against oil rich Azerbaijan and the military strength of Turkey?

All I know is this: the Ottoman Empire strove to annihilate the Armenian people in 1915, through a strategic and merciless genocide of 1.5 million Armenians. Survivors of this crime against humanity were displaced throughout the region. Like my father’s parents who survived the death march into Syria, many prospered in foreign countries and ventured on to further freedom in the United States.

Many held on to their Christian faith, built churches, and continue to worship and serve God. Although Armenia was the ‘first Christian nation’ in 301AD when apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew preached the gospel there, it is predominately nominally Christian.

However, since this onslaught upon Karabakh, the slumbering faith of many Armenians is rising up to stand and fight. We are fasting, praying, locking arms through Zoom around the world, in a unison cry to God.

Please join us in prayer for the sake of Armenians survival.

The Azerbaijani government hired a high level Washington DC public relations firm to produce deceitful media to skew public opinion. Adolph Hitler did the same thing in Washington to ‘polish’ the reputation of the growing Nazi party. https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/us-public-relations-firm-hired-nazi-germany-spread-favorable-propaganda.html

The BGR firm is now spinning events, interfacing with media and politicians, to serve this client. I could not be at the BGR Washington rally….

Please pray for the Armenians in Karabakh.  That they are still surviving is a testimony of God.  True believers and nominal alike there know, without God there is no hope.

  • Pray for President Harutyunyan and the Defense Minister, pray for commanders and soldiers.  Lord, give them wisdom, discernment and strategy beyond their ability.  Encourage them as their world and fellow man seems devastated daily.  
  • Please pray for a spiritual awakening.  As priests are baptizing soldiers on the battlefield, let them receive true salvation.
  • Lord, strengthen Your people, the Body of Christ, endow them with courage and unction 
  • Pray for the truth of war crimes and atrocities to come out 
  • Pray for God’s intervention against the Azeris and Jhadist fighters, God Almighty, strike them with confusion, fear and panic.  As King David cried, let “…their path be dark and slippery; with the angel of the Lord pursuing them…” 

Thank you.  

 

Cluster Bombs on Karabakh – Pray for Armenia!

cluster bombs

“The use of cluster bombs in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law, so their use to attack civilian areas is particularly dangerous and will only lead to further deaths and injuries,” Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty‘s acting head of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said in the statement.

“Cluster bombs are inherently indiscriminate weapons, and their deployment in residential areas is absolutely appalling and unacceptable,” he said.

https://www.24newshd.tv/06-Oct-2020/amnesty-warns-of-cluster-bomb-use-in-karabakh

On Sunday, 9/27/2020 at 7am most Armenians were preparing for church and family gatherings when struck by surprise military attack from Azerbaijan. Not a random act of aggression, this act of war was strategically calculated from Armenia’s darkest foe, Turkey. President Erdogan’s mission to resurrect the Ottoman Empire takes a big step forward, exerting Turkey’s military strength in the region. Although criticized, they remain virtually unchallenged.

“Turkey bets that the West and Russia will sit idle as Nagorno-Karabakh burns.” Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal 10/6/2020

With world powers preoccupied with pandemics, social uprisings, and chaotic elections, the Azeri – Turkish alliance is forging ahead to claim the cherished Armenian territory of Nagorno-Karabakh – Artsakh.

Bombings destroy Stepanakert….

Turkey’s recent invasion into Syria, aggressively pushing out the Kurdish stronghold against ISIS, provided a devilish resource. Turkish ‘security corporations’ now employ these freed ISIS fighters – mercenaries – to join the attack upon Karabakh. A perfect Islamic coalition of wealth, military strength, and jihadist blood thirst vows to fight on until all Armenians are removed.

Of course, Armenians globally are deeply grieved by these unprovoked acts of war and the real threat of another genocide (From 1915-1922 the Ottoman Turks annihilated 1.5 million Armenians, the first genocide of the 20th century).

While many are mobilizing resources, volunteer soldiers, and humanitarian aid, it is my cry that believers also will join in a spiritual battle through prayer.

As the world once again turns away, may the Lord burden the hearts of believers to press in for the suffering Body of Christ. Armenia claims to be a ‘Christian nation’, although many are nominal and religious. May true believers rise up in faith, may nominal Christians cry out to God with true faith.

Please remember Armenians daily and especially on Friday night, 10/9/2020 starting 8pm as we cry out to the Lord on points such as these:

1. Pray for the Body of Christ in Armenia and especially those in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

* Pray for church leadership – Pastors, elders, deacons – that God will strongly encourage them, and speak clearly to them that they may deliver God’s heart to the people.

* Pray that God strengthen believers, quicken their faith, and ignite a living faith in nominal Christians

2. Pray for soldiers on the frontlines, many of whom are farmers and villagers defending their families, their community, and country.

* May the Holy Spirit bring a spiritual awakening on the battlefield, that God will ignite their hearts to pray, finding their marching orders through Christ.

* Lord, stir up a revival on the battlefield. While bombarded by vast numbers and sophisticated weaponry, draw them to depend upon You and Your leadership, strength, and wisdom.

* Let great testimonies arise from the battle, may the Lord be glorified and honored

3. We pray for the enemy Lord, confound and push them back. Bring their Islamic onslaught to naught. Shake the hearts of these Azeri, Turkish, and ISIS fighters. Raise up a contention in their hearts and thwart their zeal, deflate the spirit of murder, and lead them to godly sorrow.

* Lord, thwart Azeri stock piles of bombs, drones, and missiles.

4. Pray for peace negotiations and conflict resolution.

Lord, even surrounded by enemies, stir up Armenian churches, let them be a light and let Armenians live to glorify You!

“Let God arise and His enemies be scattered.”

Armed for a Higher Battle

Heated battles in Washington spark flames in the hearts of many believers, including me. It takes daily discipline in God’s word and in prayer to rein in the fervor. I first worked on a political campaign as a teen – and that senator is still in office! Most tantalizing for believers though, are the esteemed ‘Biblical’ values touted in this arena. It is a snare however, drawing us in ecumenically with others to fight a worldly battle that holds no eternal victory.

“Surely the nations are a drop in the bucket…Before Him all the nations are as nothing…” Isaiah 40:15

“Be careful”, I warn myself, “not to invest your heart into something that is nothing.”

It is of utmost importance for us as believers to know where we’re placed in in the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:18), His gifts and callings. We’re not honing our skills and sharpening weapons for worldly battles but spiritual battles – those that hammer the forces of darkness while honoring and glorifying our sovereign God.

“Preserving our way of life” is no threat to Satan or any demon. Jesus didn’t come to live a good life and He never said we were either. We are called, as the Body of Christ, to display the “manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms”. Ephesians 3:10 may specifically relate to the profound working of God, making Jew and Gentile ‘one man’ in Christ as Paul proclaims through the chapter. However, the ‘manifold wisdom’ – complex, intricate, multifaceted wisdom – speaks of our mandate as ‘church’, to confound and triumph over “rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

National politics fall far beneath such conquests. According to God, they “…are regarded as dust on the scales”.

Worldly battles ignite our flesh but spiritual battles mandate death to the flesh, gaining ‘strength through separation’, in the prayer closet and shut away into God’s word. Those who ‘pick up their cross’ will become increasingly broken yet stronger and geared up for battle.

What is God’s call? Perhaps we can see that His call is not for us to be dependent upon church buildings, organizations, denominations, or activities. As A.W. Tozer once said, many churches gather together for fellowship unlike the ‘local lodges’ after their ‘coffee hour’. The Lord, however, seems to invest His call to those most dependent upon Him. His commission doesn’t come with accolades but the burdening of our heart from His heart, that inevitably leads us to minister and serve.

The world doesn’t care about spiritual battles or victories. Who cares or even knows when a drug addict finds deliverance through the Holy Spirit? Or when the loneliest souls reconcile to their Father in heaven and join in His family? When elderly meet God through His Body, when the proud are convicted of sin, when the sinner cries out, “how could I have lived like that? Rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world in the heavenly realm take notice when they suffer loss and defeat through the lives of ordinary mortals who serve at the behest and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Like most people, I have definite social and political inclination. Still living in NYC part of the time, I have strong feelings which can be impassioned through the media and the willful direction of my heart. But I don’t want to champion candidates or legislation – I don’t want to fight for that drop in the bucket….

I want to be useful to God’s Kingdom, commissioned by Him that He might work through me. No matter how small the assignment may seem, there is no greater honor in all this world.

Press on brothers and sisters!

What’s REALLY Killing Our Churches

God is, in no way, deterred by a virus, a riot, or ‘oppressive legislation’.  In fact, scripture boldly testifies that God’s strength is perfected in our weakness.  His precious and powerful Spirit moves triumphantly through our desperate cries and prayers.  Dependency is a major pillar of faith, so essential that the Lord will cause and/or allow confounding situations and calamities to draw us into His word and prayer.

It is not possible for COVID or any government restrictions to curtail the move of God nor diminish His purposes but He may well be using these to expose the foundation of our faith.  Just what is it built upon?

American churches and spiritual revivals seem to be at a tail end, working hard to pump life into the fading godly reputations.   The ‘smoke has left the temple’ but where is our grief and contrite heart?

All-night prayer meetings and three day fasts humbled and united brethren in godly churches, charging them with great expectations from God.  The Holy Spirit brought direction, the Lord’s purposes became clear.  There was revelation to God’s word.  What happened, seemingly so fast?

We can learn from young King Uzziah….

“As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success….His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful.”   (II Chronicles 26 excerpts)

Gone are those prayer meetings.  Undoable are those fasts.  ICHAOD is juxtaposed upon the billboards yet goes unnoticed.  The Glory of God is replaced with marketing strategists, digital strategists, community interest groups and food giveaways.   No virus is curtailing God’s move and certainly no government – in the most restrictive and oppressive countries the Holy Spirit is mightily gathering souls for God’s Kingdom!

We squandered our ‘spiritual wealth’ – our dependency upon, our intimacy with, our abandon to God – to wade in a spirit of Laodicea.  Neither ‘hot nor cold’, we were ‘wealthy’ and self sufficient until a virus interrupted our church business.

we-can-do-it

With enough lawyers, donors and publicity, ‘We Can Do It’, but we’ll be ‘doing it’ without God’s Holy presence.  “The flesh counts for nothing”, Jesus said.  

Can church shut downs or worldly oppression of any kind diminish the longing of the Bride for the Bridegroom?  Won’t it all only quicken our hearts to seek Him and deepen our yearning for His coming?

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!  For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.   Rev 19:7

Lord, am I getting ready or am I still clamoring for the temporal things, reaching back for gone seasons and past movements?  I pray that You call us and draw us as Your flock, open Your word to us.  Let the world ‘take away’ as long as You pour in with greater measure!

 

Signs of The Times and The Suburbs

The implosion of major US cities is no secret.  Even as steadfast New Yorkers, we prayed about leaving, considering a condo in the country for a real change.  However, while visiting my parents, my elderly dad offered, “Why not move in with us?”  As my 90 year old mother slowly passed by with her walker, the country real estate postings in my mind went ‘poof’.  Grateful to enjoy and honor my parents in their senior days, we are for the most part, in suburbia.

For me, ‘suburbia’ tries hard through landscape to look ‘country’ and tries hard through programs to be ‘cultural’ but it misses the urban and rural essence somewhat.  Nonetheless, aside from occasional days back in NYC, I am here to serve the Lord however He assigns.

Part of my personal routine here is an early morning worship walk around the neighborhood where I free myself to sing to the Lord, add some dance steps to my walk, and pray.  Seeing occasional rabbits hop by or chipmunks scurry adds to my joy.

What takes away my joy is the boisterous signs that seem to declare a self-righteousness that, at times, pointedly disavows God.

20200804_065602One popular sign asserts the gamut of humanistic values on evolution, gender equality, immigration, and, in rainbow colors, sexual affirmations.

WE BELIEVE…..and believe so strongly that we want to post all this on our front lawns!

There are ‘minority’ families in the neighborhood, black and Indian.  Notably, none of them have any such signs, an ongoing reminder of what our black friends in Harlem reported months ago, “Yeah, Black Lives Matter marched through Harlem…but they were ALL WHITE PEOPLE!”

20200804_071213    20200804_070050

According to The Acton Institute, BLM champions: Reparations through racial socialism, Defunding the Police, Dismantling the family, Global overthrow of Capitalism, Reparations for drug dealers and the legalization of drugs and prostitution….

Hello neighbors, is that what you really believe?  If any ONE of these things happened on your pristine street you would dial 911 and fast….

In a culture nearly scrubbed of God, people are hungry for ‘righteousness’ and some kind of zeal to stir their hearts.  So needy for meaningful passion they will follow and ride a Trojan horse even to their own detriment…

What can a believer do during daily walk-worship?  Pray for my neighbors and believe that Jesus Christ, our Head, moves His Body around with eternal purpose.  If I had my own home, I would put my own sign….

20200804_170220

I’m no graphic artist but it’s a start…

May the Lord inspire and encourage you as you press on for His glory!

  

Days of Noah? Days of Sodom?

There are less than 100 days left until the US presidential election.  This is of great concern to nearly everyone, regardless of party affiliation.  But should those days preoccupy the hearts and minds of Christ’s Body?  Every heart, including mine, longs for safety and normalcy, but is safety really ‘normal’ in a fallen dark world?

Under the guise of ‘free love’ and ‘peace’, the sexual revolution of the 1960’s swung open the gates of fornication, homosexuality, and promiscuity, leading to a harvest of broken families, infidelities, abortions, and single parent homes.  More than ‘normalized’, we have pridefully displayed our sexual deviances with boisterous parades and youth indoctrinations.  Yet, as in the ‘days of Lot’ in Sodom, we are “eating and drinking, selling and planting…” living our lives normally but oblivious to the ominous judgment looming overhead.

Now, under the guise of ‘peaceful protest’ and ‘racial equality’ we have, increasingly, a “world filled with violence”.  Might God determine of us as with Noah’s violent generation,  “…that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”?  Ongoing wanton and pointless rioting with ‘leaders’ nodding with tacit approval, swings open the gates of man’s lust for violence – gates not easily or even possible to close.

And yet Jesus said that in the ‘Days of Noah’ as with Sodom, “People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage…” – all good things, even things ordained by God but with one caveat:  They were so intertwined with the world, they were oblivious to the warnings of sure and horrific judgment.   

Perhaps most American believers, like myself, are not tempted to be promiscuous or violent but the temptation to enter into political forays is almost irresistible.  Like ‘eating and drinking and marrying’, it seems normal, if not good and necessary, to champion the cause of what is right, lawful, and moral.

But, I believe, the challenge for the godly in these days is this:  Will we view our world through the platform of Republican/Democrat or through the lens of God’s unchanging word?  Are our hearts gripped with urgency to restore a prosperous and ‘normal’ society or are we gripped with an urgency, as Noah had, to preach the Gospel and warn of sure and horrific judgment?

We have saturated our culture with a shallow and benign “God is love”, “Jesus loves you” message that served only to squelch the fear of God that we so desperately need.

Less than 100 days left for election?  That’s 100 days to commit to God’s word, to dive into end times scriptures that Jesus, who does love you, proclaimed to warn and prepare whomever will heed, that He is returning as Judge as the world ripens for God’s wrath.

Don’t resist but dive into scriptural study of end time prophecies and, I urge myself, commit again to studying Revelation.  Read and re-read, call upon the Holy Spirit – our Teacher and Counselor.  Refer to reliable commentaries.  As beloved Pastor Ben Crandall always exhorted, “Get into this Book and get this Book into you!”

We don’t know who will win elections but omnipotent and sovereign God proclaims the truth of what is happening and what will surely happen.  For the prayful and hungry heart, He will reveal these truths and root them deep enough for us to bear fruit as His ambassadors.  With convicted hearts, not campaign flags, we’ll proclaim the next big event – Christ’s return as Judge and the outpour of God’s wrath upon a rebellious, unbelieving world.

Help us Lord, to resist the pull to ‘normalize’ our tumultuous world.  Give our hearts a hunger and understanding of Your word – let it sink in and overflow to those around us that we may fulfill Your call upon us in this world.

 

The Bad Thing About a Good Life

American believers have, for the most part, enjoyed a ‘good life’ where the fruits of freedom to worship, work, plan and save grounded us in ‘One Nation Under God’.  The ‘good life’, often entangled in this world, gave birth to ungodly prosperity ministries and carnal churches.  However, the bad thing about a good life in an ungodly world is the inevitable upheaval of misplanted roots.  Since, “…Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin...” and “…the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”  this is not the place to invest our heart and trust.

Americans and believers alike are alarmed by the powerful forays that are, through destruction, forcing change.  A country that was built and cultivated over hundreds of years is seemingly toppling before our eyes.  But it was toppling all along….

removing 10 commandments

The Ten Commandments,  ordered removed by Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2015, under cover of night to avoid controversy

We lost all fear of ‘controversy with God.’  What was sanctioned in secret has come to utter fruition in the daylight – toppled statues, ruined icons, wanton cultural destruction.

‘Successful’ Christians are now scrambling to secure their lives here, especially with the growing threat of socialism… “Should I cash in my 401K?…Put my money in a safe?…But will there be a ‘cashless society’?…Should we buy property?”

Self-preservation is the most natural instinct within us – who doesn’t want to live and preserve a good life?  The only problem facing the believer though is the prevailing word of God that exhorts us to “pick up our cross” and follow Christ, “to live is Christ and to die is gain”, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” This call of separation unto God is an ongoing call from Genesis to Revelation, as is the rebuke against ‘friendship with the world’ and its entanglements.

I challenge myself in this:  maybe God is calling us to set our hearts upon and actually live according to His word,

“…godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that….take hold of the life that is truly life.  (I Timothy 6 excerpts)

These social, political, and moral upheavals pose great challenges for believers but also great opportunities to live out our faith as God intends – to believe and stand on His word, to express the glory and faithfulness of God, to be content…strengthening our hearts with the reality of Christ’s promised and soon return.

Believers are called out in every time and place of world history and with that call comes the power of God to live out our faith and fulfill His purposes for our short time here.

Lord, help us walk in and live through Your word in greater measure, proclaiming Your truth and faithfulness as this dark world readies for Judgment Day. 

God’s Call Within the Chaos

The current plight of NYC is no secret.  Living here for 40 years, as a student, social worker, and State Parole Officer, ‘chaos’ has fueled my career, my social life and increasingly later – my spiritual life in the Lord.  In my 20’s, my neighborhood was laden with drug dealers, so bold in fact that they set up chaise lounges on the sidewalks to sell comfortably!  The huge armory two blocks away from me provided beds for 800 homeless men – broken, addicted, and many dangerous – often spilling out into doorsteps and stoops.

This city snapshot of the 1980’s slowly faded as Federal, State and local law enforcement intervened, politics changed, and social initiatives began.  Uplifted and revived, NYC began to prosper and excel in every way.  There was, of course, still chaos but we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Crime, black outs, recessions, terrorist attacks…all brought chaos, but all brought us closer together.  Neighborly bonds strengthened and believers clung together with each other and the Lord.  Ministries grew as the Lord seemingly casted nets out to drug addicts, convicts, and others – many were drawn to the Lord and repented at our church, Times Square Church with Pastor David Wilkerson.  God reaped a harvest in NYC chaos!

prayer in the square

For 3 years TSC had Prayer in the Square. Tens of thousands gathered in Times Square, crying out to God for the city.

No one is sadder than me to say, “those days are gone”.  Why is our current ‘chaos’ so different?

The celebration of sin…

celebrating abortion

Bridges lit up, celebrating NY law that legalizes abortion until birth

abortion announcement

New curriculums for children….

“New York Teaching Pre-K Kids About LGBTQ, Transgender ‘Rights’”

Children gather to new story tellers….

drag queen story hour

Drag Queen Story Hour – a celebrated venue for teaching children new family values and sexual identities within public schools and libraries

There are, of course, too many events and developments to numerate.  But defining truths became evident – repenting of sin shifted into celebration of sin with a zeal to proliferate into school classrooms.

As debauchery fermented, the season of strong church leadership seemed to dissipate.  The ‘torch was passed’ to new leadership that focused on social programs and benign outreaches, often acquiescing to and even accommodating for prevailing moral landslide.

The current urban whirlwind of chaos and destruction is not from a terrorist onslaught or natural disaster, but the dark fruit of leadership given over to depraved, reprobate minds.

“Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity…”  (Romans 1 excerpt)

God unravels man’s biggest delusion:  that you can sin and get away with it, you can disavow and offend God and prosper.  

Foundations of socialism and Marxism taking root in the rubble of shuttered businesses…desecrated social icons….law enforcement utterly scorned, systematically dismantled…a not-so-slow train wreck that will end up worse than we imagine.  If this is the evidence of God’s abandonment, believers need to boldly step back, strongly resisting any fleshly ambition to rescue a fallen city or land. 

There is nothing more important for the believer, the follower of Christ and lover of His word, than to discern the signs of the times.  While there’s always a call in times of chaos, Christ’s Body should not blindly jump into this condemned world’s foray.

As ‘mega-churches’ obscure and unravel and traditional denominations scramble for relevancy,  God is igniting pockets of believers.  God’s call in the chaos may not be loud but quietly powerful.  Within homes or through electronics, the Lord is shepherding sheep together, even just two or three, to exhort, teach, encourage and sharpen one another, “as iron sharpens iron”.

I pray the Lord dim my view of this temporal and imploding world.  As celebrity Christianity rightly deflates, I pray to value and esteem the precious one or two that the Lord may bring forth to disciple and counsel into His Kingdom.

May we press in to hear God’s call and follow His lead, with a heart of growing anticipation of Christ’s return.  Press on brethren, Maranatha!