Latest Entries »

I have consciously refrained from weighing in on the Colin Kaepernick situation, but I can’t ignore it any longer. This situation has now touched me where I live – Nebraska Cornhusker football. Three members from my favorite team (since I was knee high to a grasshopper) chose to kneel during the anthem Saturday night. One of them is among my favorite players on the team. I have to admit at first I was a bit bugged by this. I feared this was a situation that could lead to dissension on the team. And it puts the head coach in a bit of a quandary as far as preventing that dissension. After reading the young man’s rationale for his actions, I had to adjust my position. You can read Michael Rose-Ivey’s statement in its entirety here:

https://www.landof10.com/nebraska/read-michael-rose-iveys-full-statement-on-why-he-kneeled-during-the-national-anthem

This is not the rant of a thug. There is a big difference between a protestor and a hooligan. Both those who want to honor law and order and officers of the law, protect the sanctity of our national anthem and patriotism and those who work for social justice to complete the process that was started by Martin Luther King and others, must understand this. Ironically I believe it was football and other sports that helped the color barrier finally be brought down. Those advocating violence must remember that those who live by the sword, perish by the sword and that equality was never obtained by killing innocent people.

The governor of Nebraska says this act was disgraceful but he respects their right to protest – but obviously not the protestors themselves. One of the regents in Nebraska stated that the three boys involved in this protest better be fired, even though the coach gave his permission. Perhaps the regent should rethink-or renounce his own position. That is not the worst of it. Michael Rose-Ivy received comments like, “you ought to be hung before the next game.” Do you not see that this type of attitude is exactly how things were during the Jim Crow days? Black men had to leave certain towns before dark or face execution. It chills my blood to think about a young man who had the courage to stand up (well, kneel in this situation) to fight for the protection of life. To be killed for such a position is the height of irony and insanity and the exact thing that our national anthem is supposed to celebrate – freedom of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. And should I note that these men were kneeling, in prayer, during the anthem. I do believe that kneeling is the most reverential position we can place ourselves. To me sitting would have been more disrespectful. Remember people, we do not worship our flag or anthem. We pay tribute to what it represents. The American flag is not just a bolt of cloth with red and white stripes and white stars on a field of blue. It embodies the concept of freedom. We all have the inalienable right to do whatever we want as long as it doesn’t break a law which was dutifully passed by a representative government seeking the best for all citizens as a whole.

Back to my first reaction of shock and a little fear. The Huskers have a good season going. I didn’t want anything to jeopardize that momentum. Distractions would not be good here. After thinking it over though, I’m a bit ashamed. This is much bigger than football. Much bigger. Nebraska players have dedicated this season to a fallen comrade, Sam Foltz, who was killed in a car accident. Husker fans, and actually fans and players all over the nation have honored Sam. Perhaps now is a good time to ask what Sam would do in this situation? I can tell you one thing – if anyone came to lynch one of his black teammates for exercising their freedom of speech, Sam would have punted them into the next county.

There are a group of young men who have opted to raise a fist in the air during the anthem, just as two black track athletes did in the 1968 Olympics. Not many remember the names of Tommie Smith and John Carlos today. Their raised fist was the sign of the Black Panthers. They were not protesting inequality. Their slogan was “Black Power” and they weren’t finicky about the methods they used to bring about that power. I admired Martin Luther King; the Black Panthers, not so much. The governor of Nebraska suggested that it would have been more respectable for the athletes to raise their fists rather than kneel. Really, Gov? I think the only one potentially guilty of disgraceful behavior holds the top political office in the state.

I grew up in the Vietnam War era. There was a protest movement back then which impacted all young people. People who criticized our presence in Viet Nam were told, “America: love it or leave it.” I was perplexed. Aren’t the people who truly love a country the ones who do their best to improve that nation and her people?

I don’t know what’s going to happen here with the Nebraska situation. Perhaps the coach will keep his team in the locker room during the anthem this week at their home game. Maybe they’ll come out and the whole team will kneel together. Maybe they’ll all hold the American flag together too. In any case, America needs to quit censoring those who see and speak out against the flaws. If Americans force people to conform to their own standards, what difference is there between America and a totalitarian government?

Intelligent people realize we still have a problem, and perhaps a growing one, with race relations. How do we solve it? Check out this YouTube sermon which nails it the best I’ve seen. This guy pastors in Charlotte so they have been impacted by the collateral damage of this maelstrom.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fYjKI5-Q0g

Color Me Deplorable

Hillary might consider me a deplorable. Truthfully, I don’t really care what she thinks. If God is pleased with me, then I am not deplorable in His eyes. But Hillary very well could be. She doesn’t seem to be overly concerned about what God might think however.

Our female presidential candidate considers those people deplorable who possess these characteristics:  racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic or Islamaphobic. Let’s break those down into their individual categories and examine them a bit more closely.

Racist: this is the new catchall term to sling at anyone you want to oppose. I’m convinced that the majority of people in the United State have no freaking clue what this word really means. Would these be the people who say “all lives matter?” Would these be people who think that all people, no matter what their color (there is only one race – the human race – proven by DNA studies) should be arrested and prosecuted for their crimes?

Sexist: this term totally baffles me. Perhaps it’s a replacement for chauvinistic pig the phrase that graced the lips of the kids in Archie Bunker’s household on TV in the 60s. I’ve never seen a situation where a female was accused of being sexist. In my eyes this is a term coined by the feminists in their battle for superiority, I mean equality. Yes, I believe a woman should get paid the same as a man for the same job. Yes women should have equal protection under the law, etc. etc. etc. There, am I off the hook on this issue? Or does the fact I believe that women should have the freedom to seek employment outside the home, but the greatest job of all is being a mom land me into the deplorable category?

Homophobic: I have to submit to you that this is totally a case of misnomenclature. Phobic indicates an unnatural fear. I don’t know of anyone who has unrealistic fears about homosexuality. There are people who I admit have a hatred for homosexuality and homosexuals themselves. Phobia and hatred are far from the same thing. And then there are those who oppose homosexuality because of their religious convictions. The ideal in that scenario is those people hate the sin but love the sinner. If standing up for what you believe without inflicting actual (not perceived) injury to people who believe otherwise is deplorable, then sign me up for a long tour of duty.

Xenophobic: fear of foreign culture. I admit I had to look up this word. Perhaps I have an unhealthy fear that soccer will soon surpass American football as the most popular sport in America. Not! I can safely say that in this day where terrorism raises its ugly head all over the globe, that wanting to limit the people who are allowed to enter our border is not a deplorable thing. We have immigration laws to handle such things. So do other countries. I don’t know of a country where you can just decide to drop in and take up residency. Why would not wanting that scenario make people phobic?

Islamaphobic: back to the question of irrational fear. I just broached this topic in my latest book. If a group of people makes threats to kill others who are not part of their group and they actually do so in heinous manners, wouldn’t fear of such a group be rational? So number one: there is reason to fear jihad minded Islam. Number two, the primary crime against Islam by Christians is that they refuse to budge on the position that Jesus is the only way to Heaven and the son of the living God. Christians are commanded to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. That basically forces us to claim that Islam is a false religion whether we use such terminology openly or not. That is labeled Islamaphobia. I can’t help but wonder what we should label the practice of Islamic followers killing or imprisoning those members of their faith that embrace Jesus Christ. I submit to you that Christians are not the problem with the unreasonable fear here. Thus if again standing for my belief in Jesus Christ makes me deplorable, chain me to the wall (in my best Chihuahua accent).

In summary, it appears that people who make public professions against homosexuality, transgender-ism, feminism, illegal immigration, forced resettlement of refugees from Islamic countries, and Sharia law are deplorable. Those who choose to champion such causes are the darlings of the main stream media culture shapers and obviously of the woman who would be president. I hate to be negative here, but Hillary’s use of the term deplorable here exceeds by far the paradigm of the pot calling the kettle black. Oops! Is that a racist joke? The Bible says that in the last days that evil shall be called good and good evil. So Miss Hillary, by deploring God’s truth and being worshiped as a “good” woman, you are fulfilling scripture. Just sayin’.

 

A PS just for jollies: here’s a definition found on the Internet which is very revealing in itself.  Christophobia is the irrational fear or hatred of Christianity or Christians. While Christophobia is a real thing, it is usually used as a snarl word by some Christians with a persecution complex and (at most) only a passing familiarity with reality. There’s probably a good overlap with the people who claim there’s a liberal bias in the media.

Hillary Clinton recently spoke at a black church and touted the merits of grace and humility. This approach has brought me into the discussion. I don’t write much about politics, but when a politician brings up faith, I jump in with both feet–well both hands anyway since all my compositions are done via a computer. One of my targets in the world of Christianity (and the subject of my latest movie Old Rugged Cross) is hypergrace. People who are caught up in the trap of hypergrace (also known as greasy grace, cheap grace, sloppy agape, etc.) will deny that there is such a thing. I argue that this concept is perhaps the most dangerous in our universe. People who feel convinced they have the truth usually aren’t continuing their search. In this situation, people who embrace hypergrace certainly don’t want to be convinced that they’re wrong because they want to believe that God is one dimensional, full of forgiveness and mercy for everyone. That’s not the God that’s revealed in the Bible.

Did you know that Jesus doesn’t mention the word grace a single time? Paul is the principal espouser of grace yet he is the one who writes that liars, cowards, adulterers, homosexuals, drunkards, etc. will not enter into Heaven. Hillary has already shown to the world that she is guilty of lying. Whether the nickname of Killary is appropriate for her is beyond us at this point. However, you might notice that she has filed zero lawsuits for slander (that I know of) against those who have written publicly (in magazines even) about the list of people near the Clintons who have died in mysterious ways. What’s up with that?

Here’s my point: Of course God has grace for those who repent of their sins and trust that the blood of Jesus will blot them out. But nowhere does the Bible indicate that grace will cover those who practice sin–those who scheme and plan their sins and never come to the point of contrition. Grace is a safety net for those who fall off the high wire act. Hypergrace never even gets on the wire but simply walks across the safety net. It may be possible to delete emails in this life and escape punishment, but the Judge of all mankind does not miss a single detail.

I have to admit that after watching Hillary cough almost nonstop in her speech the other day, I felt sorry for her. I envisioned her with the Heavenly Father’s arms around her giving her assurance that He loved her and that she didn’t need to lie or manipulate to make herself look good to others. He is the only one whom she needs to impress. And I realized that instead of heaping scorn and criticism upon her head, we need to pray for Hillary to see the light, especially if her health issues are serious. In the meantime, I urge you to avoid embracing Hillary Clinton as your source of theological truth. Well, any truth actually.

 

By the way, Old Rugged Cross premieres at the Dallas Theater in Dallas, Georgia on September 20, 2016 at 7:00 PM.  DVD’s are available also as of that date at http://donaldjamesparker.com/oldruggedcross.aspx

 

orcdvd

The movie Ben Hur of 1959 is one of my favorite flicks of all time. I was not exactly jazzed to hear of a remake, a concept which verged on being sacrilegious in my eyes. However, since the reboot was done despite my objections,  I felt compelled to see it. After all, the original title of the book written by Lew Wallace, the governor of New Mexico, was Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ. My passion is not only to write and produce such films, but to support the works of others who present the gospel and the author of that gospel to the world. And I have to admit I was curious as to how they handled trying to replicate a classic.

One thing I refuse to do is compare these two movies other than to say there were few differences in the story line. To be fair, I’m reviewing this movie as if I never saw the original.  The pundits at Rotten Tomatoes didn’t make the same resolution and most have rejected this movie with only 28% giving it a favorable review. Could that be because Jesus has a role in this story? In my Bible reading this morning, I ran across Jesus’ statement that the world hated Him and would hate his followers as a result. I truly believe that Jesus hostility is on full display at Rotten Tomatoes. 92% gave a favorable rating to the latest Star Wars movie. That film doesn’t even compare to the new Ben Hur as far as depth is concerned.  I have to surmise that many people reviewing this movie started off wanting to hate it for one reason or another.

In my opinion the production values were excellent. I found nothing to complain about with the acting, cinematography, music, sets, or the dialogue. My favorite measuring stick is dialogue, and the conversations in this story did not leave me wanting in the least. Most people realize that friction/tension grabs people’s attention and brings them into the story. There was no dearth of that element. Well, what about the story itself. Isn’t story the quintessential component of this genre of entertainment? Since this movie followed the original quite closely, the story line is already a proven quality. What was there to not like?

Let me be transparent by saying my wife hated this film. She stated that reaction loud enough for probably everyone in the theater to hear as the movie neared its conclusion. The reason was the violence. This is not a film for those who are super sensitive to physical altercations and bloodshed. I admit that I looked away a few times myself.  As we exited the theater, I wished I had taken her to the remake of Pete’s Dragon instead.

However, I would not have wanted to miss Ben Hur. It awoke within me a semi-dormant realization that our world historically has been a very inhospitable place. I apprehended that my gratitude for human love has been diminished by my perspective in thinking that the world should be perfect and that all of the violence and hatred and sin have pulled it down to less than mediocrity.  This causes me to focus on all the problems. A person who explores a desert looking for the beautiful wild flowers that rise up despite the heat and lack of moisture, exults in finding beauty in a desolate place. My outlook has caused me to instead look for all the warts on the face of the world and to become disconsolate when I see so many. I’ve considered love to be the default behavior of mankind, and perceiving the apparent lack of it has jaded me. Instead I should have realized that the natural man really is not a noble creature and that I should be amazed by the amount of love that actually can be found in the world. It’s the glass half full or empty paradigm. Instead of mourning that there is so much evil in the world, I need to rejoice that there is so much good and brotherly love. And thus this movie did for me what all great movies must do, adjust perspective to clarify and correct worldview myopia.

This movie has a distinct theme, which is hammered home with a powerful ending. Despite the plethora of bloodshed, this was not a movie that glorified aggression. It demonstrates that violence begets violence, hatred begets hatred, but on the other hand love can engender love. We humans make the choice what we will embrace and reproduce. If we live by the “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” paradigm, we’ll have a bunch of blind and toothless homo sapiens populating our planet. A person of intelligence can only observe this gore and arrive at the conclusion that forgiveness and love must win this battle between love and hatred, or our world is going to be a miserable place and perhaps will destroy itself. And that takes us back to God, the author of love, and the light and hope of the world, a revelation that makes many movie critics very uncomfortable.

The police have a baffling case on their hands. A 19 year-old, clean cut, athletic and studious Florida State sophomore had to be subdued by a canine and several police as he was trying to eat the face of a man he had stabbed to death. The man’s wife was also a victim. A neighbor survived the incident with stab wounds and was able to summon the police. Here’s a link to the story: http://cbs12.com/news/local/who-is-austin-harrouff

The mystery to the officers involved here is twofold:  what was the motive for this young man, who had so much to live for, to enter the garage of a pair of strangers and perform such grizzly acts.  They don’t get it. The second mystery is how strong the young man was in shrugging off their stun gun and requiring multiple officers to subdue him.  (Police report says that Harrouff was “abnormally strong,” incoherent and making “animal-like noises.”). They had his body checked for drugs, hoping that some type of substance high would give them insight into this crazy crime scene. There was no trace in his body. And the culprit (can’t really call him a suspect since he was caught in the act) actually told the police that at the site as if he was mocking their efforts. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/face-biting-suspect-austin-harrouff-dared-deputies-to-test-him-for-drugs/

This was not an underprivileged kid who had undergone a traumatic life. His father is a respected dentist. Their relationship seems to have been a good one. Why in the world would a decent kid be making headlines like these? Perhaps the details of this one are more gruesome, but there have been other killings by people who don’t fit the stereotype of an assassin.  Many people mention when asked why they did committed a heinous and senseless crime, “a voice told me to.” Hmmm.  Where could such voices come from? I have a suggestion in this situation.

For those beleaguered and baffled police detectives, perhaps they might look in the Bible at Mark chapter five for a possible explanation of Harrouff’s behavior.  “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.”

I’m not a psychic, but I’ll make a prediction here. We will be seeing more and more bizarre crimes that make no sense and that will challenge the writers of Abnormal Psychology textbooks. The devil has operated by stealth through the years, cloaking his presence from the general populace. My opinion is that as we approach the end of times, Satan will openly compete for the hearts of mankind. Will defense attorneys soon be using the Flip Wilson (the devil made him do it) defense?   I don’t think so, since they still have the old reliable “insanity plea” as a get out of jail card. However I’m convinced with the continued usage of pharmakeia (drugs), dabbling in the occult, and apparently soon to burst on the scene, after school satanic clubs, the young people of our world will be opening themselves to the demonic realm. Society will suffer as a result, perhaps even to the point where those seeking answers will consider the possibility that there really is a devil, and he is trying to ruin the lives of every human on earth.

Want some more dependable witness than my opinion?  You should.  How about this three part series on the topic?  http://www.wnd.com/2016/07/psychiatrist-goes-demon-hunting-with-exorcists/

http://www.wnd.com/2016/08/meet-a-modern-day-pastor-who-casts-out-demons/

http://www.wnd.com/2016/08/all-american-girl-turns-skeptic-into-demon-hunter/

And the drug connection:  http://www.prophecyupdate.com/witchcraft-and-pharmakeia.html

Fallout from Star Wars

I don’t often go to the movie theater any more unless a Christian film is playing on the big screen. I made an exception this weekend by donning 3-D glasses for the first time in my life and watching Star Wars The Force Awakens. In many ways it seemed like I was watching the original (minus the effect of feeling fighter jets flying through my stomach. 3D was a neat adventure but I won’t need to do it again). The new movie featured pretty much the same action routines and some plot similarities of the 1977 classic.  By the way, this editorial is not a review of Star Wars per se.  The main reason for me spending my time to pen this is the phenomena of the movie itself and Christian’s attraction to this kind of film. It grossed $120 million on Friday the 17th, the first film to bring in over a hundred million in one day. This brings to mind the word “mania” and makes this observation I’m making of some relevance.
As a maker of low budget, indie Christian films, I would be totally stoked with a film that brought in $50,000. That would probably be close to the same ratio of cost to revenue for Star Wars. I have to admit it pains me to see people flock to the theaters to see “cotton candy” movies while movies of substance and fiber and eternal consequences never make it to the theaters and the DVD collect dust in a warehouse.

Did I just refer to Star Wars as cotton candy? Yes, I did. Why? I enjoyed the movie as I was sitting in the theater, but upon exiting I immediately began to ponder how there was almost nothing to chew on mentally, spiritually, or emotionally. There was mostly a lot of mindless shooting going on, giving one the impression of watching a kid play a video game. The motivation for the incessant violence is not portrayed- which is maybe not a bad thing. The overriding theme is good vs evil. Perhaps evil is best portrayed as mindless attempts to destroy that which is good. One can’t help but notice the allegorical nature of the theme as the two sides of the force correspond nicely to the spiritual realm, which is divided between light and darkness. One can’t really derive their theology from this movie, but a watcher can’t help but ponder the existence and source of evil upon this planet. That’s a good start to finding God, but only one step on a long journey in discovering that evil and good are not forces like gravity but actually originate with real beings – God and Satan.
To those who worship the medium of film and television, I’d suggest you take a serious look at your lifestyle. We may not build altars in the hills and worship at them, but our modern culture has found a multitude of idols to take the place of the pagan practices.  If you’re more excited about the release of Star Wars than you are to share the gospel with someone who has a one way ticket to hell, I’d say you’re in danger of being lukewarm. Nobody would ever want to consider that those who consider themselves a Christian could miss the glory train to Heaven, but Jesus said that if you’re lukewarm, he’ll spew you out of his mouth. I know that contradicts the modern evangelist who says you can purchase your irrevocable fare to eternal bliss by simply reciting a prayer. You won’t find that formula in the Bible. In reality, a born again Christian becomes a passenger on the glory train the minute he or she truly turns his/her life over to Christ. If you think you can hang around the world and catch the last train out of town, I think you’re sadly deluded.
In this current world we have a major chasm between Christian groups who believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still in operation today and those who are convinced those gifts ceased with the death of the apostles. My gut reaction in watching Star Wars is that those who think the Bible is all they need and that God neither speaks to us today nor works miracles among us correspond to the resistance fighters who just rely on their weapons and their own intelligence. And those who receive spiritual power through the Holy Spirit are the Jedi knights of the real world.  The only dialogue in the whole movie that stirred my soul came at the end. Hans Solo was questioned about the authenticity of the Jedis and he responded.  “It’s all true.”  I say the same thing to those who reject God’s involvement in our lives today. “It’s all true, but if you want to try to defeat the devil and win lost souls to the Kingdom on your own power, be my guest. I just pray that you’ll quit labeling as false prophets and teachers those who have found a better way of living and fighting  I’d hate you to be compelled to explain to God why you stood against those He called and gifted. Be a resistance fighter against the devil, but do it as a Jedi, with the force of the Holy Spirit giving you the power to overcome.

Saber rattling is coming out of Iran again. They are promising to exterminate the Zionists and free the Palestinians. If these threats were not so serious, I would find this a brilliant stand up comedy routine. Why would I find the concept of threatened genocide hilarious? First of all, let’s revisit that platitude, “He who does not know history is condemned to repeat it.”

Let’s look at some history you might not be familiar with – especially if you’re a young person. I’m sure things like this are not taught in schools anywhere – except probably in Israel. In 1948 the British vacated the historic land that had been deeded by God to the Hebrew slaves as they exited Egypt, wandered in the desert for 40 years trying to figure out if God was bigger than the giants who inhabited the Promised Land, and then finally, under new management as Joshua took the reins from Moses, crossed over the Jordan River to their new home in Canaan. The Jews supernaturally had been given back control of the land they had been driven from two millennium previously – just as it had been foretold in the Bible. The world should have been astounded. And the Arab world should have been a bit leery as several countries massed troops and armaments along the border awaiting the pullout of the British. Ironically not only did the British not lift a finger to protect the fledgling nation, they actually imposed an arms import embargo which kept the Jews from preparing for the onslaught of several trained armies. In the world of sports comparisons – this matchup would have been the Bad News Bears vs the New York Yankees – and the Yankees were allowed to put their entire roster on the field at the same time. Are you getting the point that the odds against the Jews were insurmountable? Virtually impossible, to the point of being in the ballpark of the odds of life springing up spontaneously from chemical soup.   Then a repeat with the odds not quite as stacked in the Arabs’ favor in 1967. Same results. And again in 1973. Forty-two years have passed since that last real war. In that time frame, Israel has developed some revolutionary and bleeding edge technology, including in the area of warfare. They no longer are defenseless.

Can we use the “M” word here? Miracle. The only explanation for the advent of life is God. The only explanation for the victory of a bunch of rag tag freedom fighters against trained armies with exponentially superior weaponry. God is standing on His promises. And His prophets have foretold the attack upon Israel by Persia (Iran) and other countries in the end of days. Are the Iranians incapable of understanding history and of reading prophecy? Or are they pushed forward in their path toward destruction of their own country by demonic forces which override common sense?

We Americans who love Israel are upset because our seemingly also demonically influenced president and congress, have all but emailed Iran the blue prints for nuclear weapons in addition to adding to our unpayable national debt to bankroll the purchase of the raw materials Iran needs to complete their goal. All in God’s plan too? We need to remember: The American government is not Israel’s protector. God is. Let’s sit back and watch and pray as the greatest story ever told ever written unfolds its conclusion.

Here’s a link to a story about the threats: http://conservativebyte.com/2015/09/iranian-commander-vows-to-continue-weapons-build-up-until-israel-is-destroyed/#

Getting discouraged because you aren’t getting the results you expect to from serving God? Join the crowd. Been there – done that – and keep doing it. I’m trying to stop.

Yesterday I heard a great true story on Joni’s Table Talk on Daystar with Terry Law of StormChaser.org. What an inspiring story.  Check him out at http://www.stornchaser.org

My friend Emmanuel Olaleye shared this story with me. Probably not true but a great example of how God might work.

GOD KNOWS BEST One day a local evangelist bragged during a crusade that his God was more able than all the other gods in the town and the powers of the universe that the villagers worshiped put together. Just then, rainstorm sounds started sounding overhead, threatening the progress of the crusade. The evangelist lifted up his voice and declared with confidence that if the rains fell, then he wasn’t a man of God; he would stop preaching! Before he could finish his bluff, the rains began to hit the crusade grounds so vehemently, apparently in disregard to his declarations. The whole town left the crusade grounds to their houses, shaking their heads in disappointment and dismay. The evangelist, so distraught and angry, packed his belongings and left the town the next day. On his way through the next town, he checked into a local drinking spot and drank himself to stupor. As he laid on the ground cursing God, an old seedy looking man tapped him gently on the shoulder. “Man of God”, the old man began. But the evangelist quickly cut in, “don’t mention the name of God to me. He is fake. He is unreliable. I am no longer a believer in this God. A God who chooses to disgrace his servants. Leave me alone!” But the old man would not let him be. He continued,”I am the fetish priest in the village you just preached at. During your one week stay in that village, you destroyed all the charms i had made on the people for 45 years. Your prayers and your words always came with some fearful fire and power. I tried so many times to eliminate you but i couldn’t. My last chance came yesterday. I had loaded my gun with gun powder lying wait on the mountaintop where i had a very clear view of you. My plan was to shoot you from a distance since i couldn’t get close enough to you due to the fire around you. But just when i lifted the gun, the rains came from nowhere, wetting my gunpowder and covering you in a cloud so that i couldn’t even see you. All i saw was a bright man holding a sword in front of you. I was so terrified. I concluded that your God was indeed all powerful and Almighty. That is why i’ve been looking for you since then. I want to follow this your God!” The ex-evangelist bowed his head in shame! Dear friends, sometimes, it is just wise for us to believe that our Father knows the way He is taking us. We should just trust His leading. Let our boast be in the Lord, not in ourselves. If we decree a thing and it doesn’t happen, let us not see it as disappointment or dishonor from the Father. Let us just believe that the Father wants his perfect will to be done in all things.

Across the Great Christian Divide

Last Sunday I was one of those “first time visitors” in a church in a nearby community.  The sermon delivered by one of the associate pastors there did not really provide new information to me, but it was replete (that means full – just serving up a little vocabulary lesson with my spiritual message) with confirmations for my own views of the world and what is happening at such a dizzying pace. His theme centered around the parable of the ten virgins (which ironically I had just read the day before). The pastor pointed out forcefully that this parable deals with believers not unbelievers. Five of them (or fifty percent) were denied entry to the wedding feast because they had no oil in their lamps.

Here is that passage:  Matthew 25:10-12  10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

Does it perhaps concern you that you might be one of the foolish virgins who failed to fill her lamp?  I think we must examine this situation and ask how one fills their lamp with oil. I’d very much like to attend that wedding ceremony. You can live your life the way you want to, but I’m here to warn you that you might want to do a bit of self examination (it is prescribed in the Bible).  Your eternal future is at stake. I’d suggest preparing for forever warrants a bit of your time and energy.

Clearly we have five women here who anticipated being involved in the wedding feast. They had maintained their virginity, thus punching their ticket. Right? Wrong! They needed to do more. They needed to get oil and pour it into their lamps. The directions on how to perform this are conspicuous by their absence in the context stated. That opens up a can of worms as everyone tries to fill in the gap. I’m going to give you my take on this.

Matthew 7:21-23 uses similar verbiage. ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’  OK. Here appears to be a clue. Practicing lawlessness appears to be a route to disqualification.  Also it says in verse 21 that those who do the will of the Father are the ones who will enter Heaven, aka the wedding feast in the virgin parable.

We live in a world where moral relativism thrives. Clarion calls to encourage humans to channel their efforts into pleasing God rather than pleasing themselves are not considered politically correct. You might take exception to what I’m saying here. That is your right. You also have the right to drop an anvil on your foot. Be assured, I will not suffer the pain directly of your idiocy if you attempt that. I do suffer from the pain of rejection when people lash back at me because I speak something that I believe is beneficial to them in the long run.  And I will suffer a bit from the pain of knowing you went to hell because you scoffed at my words and paid them no heed and they turned out to be guiding lights.

What I see in the current world is a division, a chasm that seems to grow wider every day. On one side of the chasm we have the world and its systems. On the other side are those who are embracing God and his word.  Notice I didn’t say Jesus. There are people who don’t embrace Jesus who are rejecting the world. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time before they do. On the other hand we have those who profess Jesus who are siding with the world. And they are trying to make it look like they are actually the true followers of Christ and that everyone else should follow their example.

Not everything that glitters is gold. Not everyone who says “I’m a Christian” really is.  Contrary to popular protestant doctrine, you don’t get to claim membership in the Jesus Club because you said a little prayer once upon a time.  Jesus said you will know disciples by their fruit and by their love for one another.  That opens up a new can of worms. I’m talking about the word “love.” How do we define true love? Find out in my next article, but until then, let me leave you with this thought:  “Be wary; false love will lead many to damnation.”