Quote for 07/26/2021

I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.    Psalm 138:2

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You’ve heard the phrase “My word is my bond.”  It means that’s the only contract that’s needed, that someone’s word is the gold standard!

God certainly can say this and knows how important it is for us to understand that.  David tells in this Psalm that God puts more value on His Word than His name; David saw God keep His Word time and again, elevating its importance even above God’s name.

Because His Word is His bond!

Tough Decisions

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.    1 John 4:18

Drazen Erdemovic had a choice to make in July of 1995.  He was a member of the Bosnian Serb army, attached to a non-combat unit.  He only joined to provide for his family.  He had no desire to fight and kill anyone.

That July he and others were pulled to another unit, whose task was to slaughter civilians as they came in by the busload.  They were to shoot them as they were lined up next to a pit.  Horrified, Drazen told the CO he couldn’t do it.  The choice he was given was stark; either shoot them as ordered or line up and get shot with them.

What would you do?  How would you decide?  Would you, like most all of us, decide based on fear or love?

Fear says, “I don’t want to die!”  Love says, “I can’t kill innocent people in such an act of evil.”

Fear doesn’t want to lose anything, most of all our very body, our life.  The love of Jesus tells us that to die in His name is gain.  Do we fear going through the door of death to meet Jesus face to face?  Enough that we balk at it?

Those of you who’ve been with me for a while know that I’ve almost died three times.  I’m not going to tell you it was ever fun, but neither was it as horrible as I might have imagined.  If I’m told I have x number of weeks to live, I think I’d be OK with that.  I’d make plans and start the countdown.

Would I ever leave a firing squad and join the condemned.  I would hope so!  I go to God innocent of murder, having stood up for what is right, even if the slaughter would go on without me.  Maybe that sacrifice would not go unnoticed.  Maybe whoever shot me would have to look me in the eye as they took aim.

What did Drazen do?  He figures he killed about 70-80 people that day.  In an effort to bring that genocide to light, he found himself on trial for war crimes at the Hague.  The defense tried to use the defense of being under duress.  A split court denied that defense.  He was convicted of manslaughter and given a relatively light sentence.

What was his reaction in the end? He ended up pleading guilty before the trial ended.

His initial decision to kill was his concern for the fate of his wife and kids.  His final statement to the court, however, is very telling.

“I (pled guilty) because of those victims, because of my conscience, because of my life, because of my child and my wife, I cannot change what I said…because of the peace of my mind, my soul, my honesty, because of the victims, the war and because of everything.”

His initial decision based on fear didn’t hold up for him!  Even though it was at least in part based on providing for his family, he eventually realized that providing for them through morality was more important.  This from someone who perhaps didn’t even know God.  He knew he had to have faith in what’s right, even if he didn’t know it was God.

Thanks to Jesus and the Father’s mercy, we can make decisions, large and small, based on love and not fear.  We can look death in the face, as we all must someday, smile at it, and say, “Take me home.  I don’t fear you, because Jesus defeated you.  He transformed you from a grave into a door.

So open wide, ‘cause I’m coming through!

Quote for 07/25/2021

For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.    Psalm 100:5

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All generations.  That sticks out.  When we think of the many prophecies that have come true already and look at the others that await their time, we can have no doubt that God is indeed as good as His Word.

While we live in very trying times, we can easily begin to worry and lose focus on God.  Concerns for personal safety, for our children’s future, persecution, finances, and more can cause doubt.  But we can rest assured that God cares for us now and for eternity.

His mercy really is everlasting!

What’s the Point?

Matthew 24, selected verses

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold…24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect…37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be…42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

I write on a wide variety of topics from personal observation to science to obscure news items that don’t get mainstream coverage.  All of this from a Christian blogger.

What’s the point?  Salvation.  As simple and as difficult as that.

It’s simple, because salvation is the free gift from God through Jesus.

It’s also difficult, because we live on earth, Satan’s backyard.  He’s beaten.  He knows it.  But before the great final judgment day, he wants to wreck creation as much as possible.  He particularly hates us and will do anything, absolutely anything to shake us out of our faith.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.  1 Peter 5:8

Dealing with the difficult part is what I’m about.  It’s scriptural.  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.    Ephesians 6:10-18

It seems to me that organized religion, be you Lutheran like me, Roman Catholic like my friends, or some other Christian denomination, preaching and Bible studies stay with the nicer part of Christianity; salvation, heaven, love, mercy, etc.  But Paul tells the Ephesians that this is bloody war!  It isn’t about just love and mercy. It’s also about surviving in our faith during our journey on earth.  The immediacy and reality seem to be missing, not urgent.

Matthew 24 is also known as The Olivet Discourse.  Think of it as a mini-Revelation; it parallels the last book of the Bible.  It contains warnings and signs to watch for.  Jesus tells us in verse 42 to keep watch, because no one, not even Jesus, knows when His second coming will be.  The Father alone knows.

For example, most of the chapter warns against being deceived by false prophets, claiming to be the Christ.  Great signs shall be performed.  Will those signs be magic or technology?  Or some of each?

Magical/supernatural deceit?  The Vatican is on record as saying that they are preparing for an alien race of superior, created beings that may well visit us soon and “enlighten” us on what God’s Word really means.  IF that happens, my automatic assumption will be that they are demonic in nature.  The Vatican even has what they call – I’m not making this up – the L.U.C.I.F.E.R. devise to help spot the alien UFOs coming.  See the article and supporting data for yourself: https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2016/06/20/its-a-real-fight/

Technology?  It exists to project seemingly real, solid images which can even return a radar signal.  There is also technology to influence people’s thoughts, make unseen voices audible.  These could conceivably be used to project images of Jesus to counterfeit His coming and lead people astray.  See my article If Possible:  

Something less fantastic; simply understanding scripture better.  This morning I read St. Paul’s account of his conversion on the road to Emmaus .  He became an Apostle.  To be an Apostle along with the other original 11, one had to have seen the resurrected Jesus and have been taught by Him.  Paul saw Jesus on the road to Emmaus, but was he taught by Jesus Himself?

From Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.  18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

Verses 17 and 18 are the key here.  Apparently, Paul was three years “in training” before coming to Peter and beginning his apostleship.  But here’s an added piece of information.  It says he went to (Saudi) Arabia, then Damascus.  Why is that possibly significant?

According to the book The Exodus Case, Mt. Sinai is located in Saudi Arabia.  The ancient historian Josephus also places Sinai in Saudi Arabia.  See my article at https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/the-exodus-case-mt-sinai/

It makes sense, yes?  Paul would have gone to the mountain of God for at least some of his education in the Gospel.  Paul’s contemporaries would have understood, this, but we are trying to keep up 2000 years after it all happened!  We need to try a bit harder to be sure we understand.

There are two things we need to do; study the Bible to know God’s Word and to watch and study the world around us.  We are in enemy territory here on earth, and we need to know the lay of the land so as not to be caught unawares by the tricks and snares of the enemy.

And what IS the point?

Salvation.  We are all broken by sin, regrets, and sorrow.  We know we are empty and we need to be filled.  Jesus and His Holy Spirit are the only filling that will satisfy.  They are the only ones that can heal our souls and mend our minds.

If you have accepted Jesus, you need to watch and understand just how this world can deceive you.  If you don’t watch and take care, it will!

If you are empty, if you hunger for fulfillment in your soul, in your life, pray to Jesus.  Don’t worry about whether you know how to pray.  Just call on His name.  He knows it when He hears it.  He’ll answer. 

Psalm 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Once you’ve accepted Jesus, read the Bible.  All of it.  Be aware of the world and don’t let Satan or his angels strip you of your newfound faith.

If we can all make it through, if we all resist the craftiness of the enemy and stay true to Jesus, there will be an eternity of rejoicing and comfort.

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.  Isaiah 25:8

THAT’S the point!

Quote for 07/24/2021

And in that day you will say: “Praise the Lord, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted.    Isaiah 12:4

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“That day” is Jesus’ Second Coming as described in the previous chapter; “In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people…”

This echoes a favorite passage of mine, Psalm 50:15. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

I read that years ago when I was in I was in great despair. I copied it onto my prayer list to remind me that when God turned things around for me, I would tell everyone how God rescued me from my earthly calamity.

Isaiah 12:4 tells us how Jesus will rescue the world from eternal calamity:

“…with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked…The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”

Everything will be perfect just as it was at Creation! The person Who can turn all things back to how they were when God saw that everything was good is certainly worthy of praise and exaltation!

Quote for 07/23/02021

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.    Galatians 5:13

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The church in a Galatia had completely misconstrued the Gospel.  It went something like this…

“Hold on now!  This Gospel means that when I sin, God will forgive me for Jesus sake?  Is that about right?  Yes?!?  Well, hot damn!  It’s Friday night and I have an itch!”

Alright; not a literal translation from the original Greek, but you get the drift.

There is freedom in the Gospel.  It’s freedom to know that we have hope in Jesus.  It’s freedom from sorrow that comes from facing our sins and eternity all alone.

It is not freedom to go buck-wild.  It’s about approaching God with sincere regret and sorrow over our sins but also to approach boldly, knowing that’s all He desires from us.

Quote for 07/22/2021

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.    Psalm 33:12

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The United States of America is a case study the difference of a country of God and a country without God.

We were once a country that went to church on Sunday, prayed in school, and protected our right to freedom of religion.  But then we followed the wrong people and ideas and virtually legislated ourselves into atheism.  We kicked God out of our schools – no more praying allowed!  We made it legal to kill children so long as we did it when they were in the womb and we couldn’t see the bloodletting.

God used us – faults and all – to be a world leader, to be His people to the world, to tip the balance in World Wars One and Two and be the literal breadbasket of the world.

Then we went south on God and, well…look at us, our cities, our increasing violence on the ground and in the skies.  Look at how we treat each other on a daily basis.

Is there anyone out there who wants to return our country to God?  Anyone?  Please??

Another Result of Rejecting God

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.     2 Thessalonians 3:10-11

Our country has been suffering the consequences of rejecting God and His ways; laziness.  The government, which outlawed prayer in schools has made another blunder, and we’re all suffering for it.  The overly generous and long payments to people who don’t work has created a big problem.

Workers sit at home collecting government subsidies when jobs are available and businesses struggle to stay open.  I call on a lot of retail parts houses who are having trouble keeping their doors open for lack of help.  A sign at a local Red Robin advertises $15/hour wages plus a $400 signing bonus!  Similar signs are popping up at fast food places like McDonalds.

The government, instead of relying on God for their governing principles, decided they know better and have flipped God’s Word on its head.  The government has declared, “If anyone will not work, well… what the hell.  Here’s a bunch of cash.  Pig out!”

C. S. Lewis made a great analogy in his book Mere Christianity.  God is like a factory that produce people.  The Bible is the operator’s manual.

America has ditched the operator’s manual and is running people in ways God did not design them to be run.  Is it any wonder we’re having problems?  From abortion to shoplifting to riots and raves we’re seeing the results of operating ourselves outside of our designed parameters.

The only question is how much worse will things get before we decide to start doing things right?

Quote for 07/21/2021

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.    Hebrews 4:16

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The old Lutheran Order of Matins liturgy includes a confession of sins.  We admit to God the we are “poor, miserable sinners.”  And so we are.

When I think of how many sins I know about (we often sin without knowing it – we are so prone to sin!) and how many times I’ve asked for forgiveness for the same sins I can’t help thinking God will just cut me off.  I know I would!

In writing to the Hebrews, the author understands that dilemma of knowing we’re not worthy but needing to approach God anyway.  He’s telling them and us that God is better than we are.  He won’t grow tired of forgiving and loving.

He is Someone we can approach boldly, because he loves us so much!

Quote for 07/19/2021

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,    Matthew 5:44

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I confess that I do not live these instructions from Jesus very often.  Sometimes, yes, but not often enough.  Not nearly.  My problem is that I’ve seen how this world reacts to those who fight back and those who don’t.  If you fight back, people tend to back off, and you can live in relative peace.  If you don’t, you just become a target.

But here is the message that is coming to me as I type this; meeting violence with violence will indeed keep one’s enemies at bay, but it does not edify!  It does not witness the mercy and love shown by God to His enemies – us!

The answer seems to be that we should indeed fight back, but not with violence.  We fight back with love and kindness.  It certainly attests to our Christian faith.  It can certainly disarm our enemies.  It can also get us a bloody nose.  If so, well, Jesus promises us that we are blessed for suffering for His sake.

I think I’ve got it now!