Dumb and Dumber Faith

Lloyd Christmas, the hopeless romantic/eternal optimist (and inspiration for our Christian faith during dark times?)

I shared in my last post the reason why I’ve been reading Revelation frequently in the past few months.

The apocalyptical prophesy writings in the Bible almost always unsettle me, lead me to self-examination, repentance, fear of what still lies ahead, and then ultimately fill me with great hope that I will make it through it all and eventually out of here through Jesus Christ, thanks only to Him and not my own works. Turning that sense of defeat and fear and dread into great joy and relief and HOPE at the end.

My heart process as I ponder these hard truths in God’s word is much like Lloyd’s reactions in the above encounter with Mary, with whom he was so thoroughly besotted. When hard reality begins to settle in, he deflates visibly. But he doesn’t stay there long. As hope rebuilds and his great love remains, he simply can’t see anything BUT the slim chance he was given–as just that, a chance. That’s all he needed to remain hopelessly in love.

I have loosely followed along with various ministers and writers, all professing Christians, who are giving voice to what many others might call ‘conspiracy theories’. There is also a popular meme floating around about watching the news to ‘see which chapter of Revelation we are on today.’ It is only funny because it rings so true.

I am not a scientist and so I won’t get into the various theories going around about why 2021 and beyond could make 2020 look like we were on a paradise vacation. See ‘science with Dr. Doug’ if interested in a professing Christian scientist who seems relatively sound (that is NOT an endorsement, though).

In terms of ministers-I am once again getting quite a bit of help and hope from Bill Randles recent blog posts and sermons. Although he seems to continue to ‘see’ Trump as something very different than I see Trump.

Having now examined many other Christian sites and self professed ‘watchmen’ I once avidly followed, it seems few of them leave the reader with a sense of hope in the love of God, and the love of God alone. It’s a lot of: sounding of alarms as well as ‘avoid and wait’ (for the rapture) talk instead, to me. Others may disagree.

What I am is a believer in Jesus Christ, and that is what I can speak to; and will. My aim in life is to be as hopelessly besotted with Him– as Jim Carrey’s character, Lloyd, was with Mary. But I need encouragement from others to stay in that kind of hope. Those I once turned to for that encouragement are increasingly camped out on ‘warnings’ and this IS what it is ‘predictions’ of what lies ahead. (Oh, the unease such definitive statements bring me! Contrasted with the comfort AND the conviction to be found in Christians who simply say: I don’t know for sure but I can see how this might be…

And so to follow up on my last post, I want to share something that I believe He gave me during a troubled time of prayer where I was struggling with great fears and a sense of pending doom, in part because I had returned to some of these Christian pools from which I once drank freely and in seeming safety.

As I looked ahead to the future and began fearing greatly for my children, I didn’t see much hope at all.

That is when that scene from Dumb and Dumber came into my head and my heart grabbed onto it with a deep understanding, and a chuckle, of course… I knew that navigating my today and my tomorrow would involve grasping onto ‘dumb and dumber’ kind of faith. No matter what comes at me/us in the year and years to come–there is always, always, always HOPE in Jesus Christ. He can restore all the devil planned for evil and preserve what does remain and keep us from all the horror that may or may not come in our lifetimes.

Casting the pre-tribulation rapture and all those resulting arguments aside: The worldly odds of surviving the ‘pictures’ we are given of the actual apocalypse seem to give us a one in a million chance of mere survival, let alone making it out of here with eternal life intact. Yet there are a great throng of tribulation saints shown in Heaven who DO make it out of the end with their faith in tact.

God shows us what is to happen, sure, but He also makes it very clear that we ‘have a chance’. Those who remain in their love of Jesus above all else cannot be, and will not be, shaken by anything.

In the midst of so much which can be visibly seen as scary and dangerous and dark: the world might call those of us who retain unshakable hope in the unseen dumb and dumber.

I believe our Heavenly Father calls it precious! Jesus encourages us to be as children in our faith and in our love of Him. And we love because He first loved us.

As the World Turns; the Young and the Restless are having the Days of Our Lives.

This morning I read through Revelation. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. Because a loved one of mine is currently enamored with preterist eschatology. And so we have had many discussions about it and I’ve gone to the scriptures many times to see if what is being said has merit. I understand the appeal : I studied preterist viewpoints in the past, still look at it now and then, and find parts of it intriguing myself.

I also understand that the speculative leaps many ‘internet prophesy interpreters’ are making right now (and which I have also made myself here and there) might lead many disgruntled believers to preterism –with its concrete assertion to ‘stop speculating and obsessing over promises which are now DONE!’

See: Preterists believe that, in terms of End Time Bible prophesies, ‘everything already happened'(in 70 AD and shortly thereafter). Futurists believe nothing has happened yet (in terms of the ‘end times’ and second coming prophesies, not the messianic fulfillments of Jesus first coming). Historicists believe in some mixture of past, present, and future fulfillment. There are also those who believe in things like dual fulfillment of prophesy.

I am reluctant to put myself in any of the known eschatological categories. (The above explanations are my quick takeaway/paraphrasing of what I’ve studied–I encourage curious readers to research these categories for themselves for more detailed information! I didn’t want to make that the main aim of this post).

But, in the aim of full disclosure, I will say that I align ‘the most’ with the historicist viewpoint and I also see how dual or multiple fulfillments (as well as a combination of both a literal; plus a spiritual fulfillment) often seems to be a part of Bible prophesy as well. Just where I am ‘now’. That could always change.

However, I also think it’s important to understand the spirit of prophesy or the main purpose of prophesy in the first place- and to not lose sight of that. Otherwise we might see something or other as fulfilled by, say, Nero, when the greater point of the prophesy is/was to lead people to repentance and fully identifying themselves with Jesus — not leading us to identifying long dead Nero, or some present or future villain who comes to life, as the Antichrist.

If prophesy were truly about that and only THAT, than anyone who can figure out a riddle could somehow be spared– as if we just need to ‘use our own brains’ and think it through and thus save ourselves…whereas the way I see it: only those of us who approach mysterious and alarming prophetic revelations of God, by casting our selves on our knees in front of Jesus, worshipping Him alone and calling on Him for the forgiveness of our sins and trusting in His mercy and His status AS the Son of God, the WAY, the truth and the life!!–only those of us who take that posture of humility and worship and proper understanding of Jesus AS GOD–the only one who CAN save us — will be spared from the wrath of God.

(Whether or not we understood some hidden ‘riddle’ of times and dates and people and places — which may or may not have been written into the text…our posture before Him and our understanding of WHO He is; is what matters in terms of salvation and escaping God’s wrath.)

The way I see it: the spirit of prophesy points us to the denial of the self, repentance, and a return to Jesus as our first love, in this way the church is built up and edified. Read 1 Corinthians 14 . Pay attention to verses 24 and 25. (Paraphrasing:) “When an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted and called to account and the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.” That, (not predicting the future! Nor proclaiming that those future predictions are all in the past now) is the aim of prophesy (the way I see it anyway). That worshipping of God (and thereby coming out of worldly and empire worship) is what The Book of Revelation is about, to me. Which makes it far less about predicting the future and far more about preparing my own individual heart for meeting Jesus face to face someday.

In regard to what still could be coming to the earth: I prefer to take a ‘wait and see how it all pans out approach.’ I don’t need everything to be wrapped up in a bow already– one and done– OR: not unfolding until after Jesus jets me outta here– to have a sense of peace. I just need to know that I am forgiven in Jesus to feel at peace. Marked by His seal on my forehead (therefore the mark of the beast, whatever that is or already was– WON’T be received on my forehead).

I also prefer to prepare my heart, so as not to be caught unaware, for a sudden return of Jesus, or meeting Him if sudden disaster strikes me–as it seems that that was the historical position most believers TOOK– in terms of the second coming, and/0r being prepared to meet Him through death. The blessed hope is certainly: life after death through Jesus Christ our Lord. As well as these words from the Apostle Paul (verses 51-53) Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

One thing which grieved me greatly, when I left my particular brand of protestantism, was that it did not focus on the blessed hope of Jesus’ return, or that the day of death is better than the day of birth either. Perhaps some protestant streams do — the one I was in: did not. The thing that grieves me about the modern evangelical world I then explored– is that it does not seem to focus on the blessed hope of Jesus’ return either–at least not to save us from our sinful state and set the world right again.

Too many evangelicals seem to focus on the blessed hope of the rapture coming BEFORE the great tribulation so that they can escape…which is a bit different than being eager for Jesus to come so that we can finally live free of sin and evil; or soberly recognizing that to die in Christ is gain- hating even our very lives (as they constantly tempt us into sin). And vastly different from casting ourselves in worship before Jesus so that He seals us; and therefore we do not need to worry about getting the other mark …because we know that if we remain walking in the Spirit, He will tell us the things we need to know in order to avoid evil.

Furthermore: I do not want to be locked into some way of thinking that might hinder what God reveals to me, both personally, and in unfolding events I can witness with my own two eyes. The danger in following these various eschatological streams is that I might stop following Him and His daily guidance and put man’s opinions above the maturing work of the Holy Spirit.

I also don’t want to break, or damage, fellowship with those who align strongly with any of these eschatological viewpoints–another reason why I’m wary of labeling myself or dialing down too hard into one way of thinking about the dim glass/(mirror) which is biblical prophesy. (read all of the chapter for context and pay attention to 1 Corinthians 13:8-12).

Meanwhile, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about how many brothers and sisters in Christ that I know (personally, as well as what I’ve seen on online forums/blogs/etc.) who didn’t think the last inauguration would ‘actually happen.’ Some because they felt God was still with Trump and America — others because Trump is ‘clearly the antichrist’ and needs to stay in power to bring on the end of the final end, the fatal wound of one head of the beast ‘being healed’ through Trump retaining power. I admit, that thought that Trump could stay in power had occurred to me as well– as I saw what was happening. Thinking it to myself, and even running thoughts and possibilities by others privately, versus proclaiming loudly, on the internet, that that was going to be the way it WAS going to go down – however- are two very different things.

For these reasons and others: this morning I had a good laugh. Because I remembered the days when I was a teenager and loved watching ‘stories’ — daytime television soap operas. A friend recorded fuzzy episodes daily (VCR taping over previously recorded tapes often made it fuzzy) and we’d watch them together at her house after school with a shared bag of Doritos and separate Cokes.

Later, when I was staying at home with small children, my boredom and desire for junk food had me once again following along–this time with a bag of cheddar cheese and sour cream Ruffles and a Pepsi.

The junk food switch was about the biggest change, too. If you’ve ever watched soap operas: not much changes. You can pick up YEARS later and quickly recognize the characters and plot lines unfolding the same as prior. There is a lot of dramatic hype within each ‘new’ episode for the future episodes–many of these coming things would be ‘prophesied’ as the viewer would always know ‘major things’ were coming SOON. But the actual coming of these foreshadowed events drug on. And on.

The stage was ALWAYS ‘being set’ for what was next.

And so when I first studied the End Times a decade ago, I did so with an almond milk/ spinach-and enough fruit to cover the spinach taste-smoothie in hand. It didn’t seem like I was indulging in junk food or falling into prior bad habits. I’d definitely changed and matured since my youthful days. I had no desire to watch soap operas anymore!

But there it was, as I dove into the End Times streams, I found that there was junk food galore, tempting me to lose focus on healthy communion with God — and every stream the same: let me show you how to DECODE the prophesy by keeping up on current events. Use your head with me as we reason through the prophesies (and don’t worry about making your HEART right with Jesus…).

Because the stage is being set for something big–just look at this news clip and examine that world leader!

Or: don’t worry about the future, the past is where it’s all at! Let me show you all the ways that you can decode the fulfilled prophesies by studying history, and then you can be at ease again.

And so, even though I took a break for a few years, when I went back in and started watching the ‘stories’ coming out of the various prophesy streams (and the preterist views ARE also a prophesy stream!), I found all the same storylines as prior. Nothing much was new. They are again saying the same thing: the antichrist isn’t here yet, because the rapture hasn’t happened yet, but the stage is being set for something big to happen SOON.

And the preterists are still on the opposite side with almond-milk-spinach-fruit smoothies avoiding any NEW soap operas as they assure me not to worry about a thing, lets just watch the taped soap operas that already ended. They want to hit replay on history show me how it ALL actually went down. Because the story is over and those following any newly unfolding stories are just being tricked or foolish or something. As if only the Preterists have the healthy foods all figured out. Umm, ok?

But, isn’t the entire book of Revelation actually like a big exclamation point urging me to purify my WORSHIP to Jesus so I don’t get caught up worshipping the world, fall for satan’s tricks, and get ensnared by worldly empire? If it all already happened than the people who did escape it, were doing just that — purifying their worship of Jesus. Not viewing prophesy like a crystal ball.

And almond milk and spinach is a big part of what made me SICK. It’s not health food, but just cleverly marketed junk food. But that’s a bunny trail for another day.

The big thing has already happened. I’ll agree with the preterist points on that. It’s high time to behave as if it has happened and walk in the real power that comes with Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus came once. I also believe He is, literally, coming back but no one knows the day or the hour of THAT. Focus on Him, not the details we are told we cannot know anyway. It is the young and the restless who focus on such details from current OR past events. The mature in Christ, focus on Him, and Him alone. We tremble and try to purify our worship of Him; when we read Revelation and then He calms us all over again with the knowledge of His work on the cross. We don’t say ‘phew, thankfully we don’t need to worry about all of that because it happened.’ We say PHEW, Jesus saved us from the coming wrath…

One final thing, about the vaccine. Notice I didn’t write vc or VX or any of the other things anti-vaccine people now do to ‘avoid censorship’.

I’ve now wasted many hours examining what supposed experts on both sides are saying about the vaccine. I have heard many popular ministers claim unfolding prophesy in regard to the vaccine and others insist it is ‘bad’ but NOT the mark of the beast. I’ve also heard new age, antichrist in spirit, doctors cherry pick verses from the Bible to proclaim it IS the mark of the beast, as in the next breath they tell people to ‘draw on their higher power’ whether that is Jesus or whoever. Talk about confusing times we live in.

Which is why it also grieves me– given how confusing it is to find any information one might actually trust–how many Christians continue to base major life and theology decisions on head logic, scientific arguments, and things they read online somewhere or heard from others. Instead of using wholehearted faith and prayer as much as they use the (seeming) logic of their own minds.

After praying about it, what did He tell you to do or not do? Because of course every mature Christian would shut out the noise of expert debates, theology teachers, and even the advice of trusted doctors, hunker down in humility and awareness of our fallen condition, take a prostrate position before God, and fully take that one to prayer. Wouldn’t they?

How many of us are just fearfully avoiding something because an online minister or blogger told his listeners to do so?

On the other hand, how many of us are blindly taking or allowing something, trusting what others are telling us to do; is the right thing to do?

And how many of us are using our logic and our brains and trusting in that over and above Him?

Oh, how young and restless we still are; substituting junk food and milk for meat; again and again. Others of us believing we have all the answers and aren’t eating junk food– but edifying food.

Church, please take Revelation seriously, no matter your eschatological leanings. It’s a call to purify ourselves again, to return to Him as first love, to lay down all the extra stuff we hold dear, including our notions of intellect, and to become instead: humble and faithful servants who obey His call; no matter if it makes clear sense to us or not. No matter if it costs us our very lives.

The temple veil was rent in two, we all can approach the throne boldly to get answers to our questions. The reason why we are not doing that likely has something to do with our fascination of watching the wicked turnings of the world; instead of obeying the One who turns the world. This is what keeps us immature. This leads to us needing more and more newsfeeds and proof and evidence of whatever viewpoint we have camped out on.

Take it to prayer. Ask. And then listen.

A brother to one who destroys

Proverbs 18:9 (NIV) One who is slack in his work is a brother to one who destroys.

So in other words: lazy people don’t necessarily destroy outright, they are just intimately related to those who DO destroy…this concept is also displayed in the idiom ‘idle hands are the devil’s workshop’.

I haven’t had much time to ponder and write as December and January are busy times for my line of work (that is– my outside-the-home work, which is in addition to home and yard; family and community ‘work’). This year circumstances beyond my control have made this season ‘at work’ even busier for me.

However, because I’ve been working more than usual, I have had lots of time to observe the work habits, and sometimes the lack thereof, of others around me. As well as how one worker’s laziness then creates a damaging and reverberating effect on the surroundings – both coworker and client or customer deeply feeling and having to deal with the consequences of these effects.

So I thought I’d take a few minutes before heading into the office, to flesh out some thoughts I’ve been having about all of that.

To be fair: I have also noticed my own gut and heart revolting and straining over the tedium that is part and parcel of my job duties. I feel myself struggling to recover from what, in all honesty, I need to just call what it actually is: Laziness. There are any number of tasks that I just ‘do myself’ at work rather than watch a coworker half-heartedly complete them or complete them sub-standard to what I wanted. These are often tasks that I find myself groaning inwardly about doing myself. My lazy heart not wanting to do them anymore than anyone else wanted to, but the realization that part of my duties as a Christian is to take joy in these things, regardless, is often what spurs me onward. And so I put that lazy part of me ‘to death’ for another day. Lazy-me will undoubtedly resurrect sooner or later, though, so don’t go thinking I’m all that. (I’m not).

When I was in therapy for diagnosed PTSD and anxiety disorder, I eagerly went down the blame-it-all-on-workaholism-and-perfectionism-trail of ‘you worked way too much for too long, you set way too high of expectations, and that’s how you ended up needing therapy for stress and anxiety.’

That ‘workaholic’ trail is wide and well traveled. Followed closely by the ‘perfectionism’ trail, which seems equally wide and well traveled. Many self-help (Christian and other) books have been published to get us to recover from things like perfectionism, workaholism, and stress. One therapist, and one minister I visited with, introduced themselves to me as ‘recovering perfectionists.’

Many of those ‘Christian’ books and programs I bought, or bought into, included things that were way too close to contemplative prayer, eastern breathing practices, meditation, and yoga for me to actually FIND relaxing and restful. (And if you’ve been reading this blog prior then you pretty much know that I had to throw that detail in. Otherwise — there’s an X in the upper right corner if you believe such things are compatible with Biblical Christianity–as I do not.)

Now that I’m several years out of the therapy processes that were helpful in some ways (particularly in recovery from sexual abuse)–but which I then found that I had to process back out of again as I didn’t like what certain aspects had done to my belief system– I see several points where I was led astray, and other points which raised a whole lot of questions for which I do not have any clear answers.

For instance: do sloth like, gluttonous, lazy folks really need to recover from working too much? Do they really need to be told over and over again that ‘God wants us to rest.’ Clearly: taking a day a week off is one entire commandment, of a mere ten. What about the other six days though? If we truly had found ‘balance’, then shouldn’t there be just as many self-help books being written about how to be diligent, self-denying, hard workers who overcome our sinful lazy natures and do not cheat our earthly bosses (or God) out of the time we owe them or Him?

When I read the letters to the churches in Revelation for a fresh time, my experience in organized Americanized churches and ministries– usually has me seeing American Christians as being exceedingly: ‘laodicean’. We sure seem ineffectual, lacking passion, lukewarm…and, well, lazy. Lovers of pleasure, not sacrifice. Believers in wealth and self-esteem and learning to let God love us better; not prostrate on our knees with broken and contrite hearts before God confessing how poor we actually are in the midst of all our filthy mammon (a broken and contrite heart IS the sacrifice He desires).

I glanced longingly at my office bookshelf the other day — realizing it would be a while until I got to a point at work where I could settle into some winter ‘free time’ to read–and as I ran my eyes over the book spines, I noticed how many titles there were about ‘rest’ and ‘relaxing’. And how few books I had about ‘doing things’. Save for some business, marketing, gardening and homesteading how to books (some of which are all about being lazy, LOL, and others which seem to have ulterior motives of saving and remaking the world by our own merits).

All of which convicted me further. I have entire bookshelves of waste that only feeds into my own laziness and desire for money and means I didn’t earn honestly.

I think a great deal of why the world, and the church, seems to be harvesting the fruit of our sins — can be summed up by Paul’s words to Timothy: For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. (2 Timothy 3:2 NLT)

Many Christians I talk with have been trying to find their purpose or figure out their calling. Indeed: seeking our purpose and finding our calling seem to slip right by these words in 2 Timothy. As it seems like we want to turn our lives over to God, like we are being self-denying and God seeking; not materialistic lovers of self and mammon. But reading today’s (January 14th) Oswald Chamber’s daily devotion gave me pause. To quote Chambers:

God doesn’t single out someone and say, “Now, you go.” He did not force His will on Isaiah. Isaiah was in the presence of God, and he overheard the call. His response, performed in complete freedom, could only be to say, “Here am I! Send me.”

Remove the thought from your mind of expecting God to come to force you or to plead with you. When our Lord called His disciples, He did it without irresistible pressure from the outside. The quiet, yet passionate, insistence of His “Follow Me” was spoken to men whose every sense was receptive (Matthew 4:19). If we will allow the Holy Spirit to bring us face to face with God, we too will hear what Isaiah heard— “the voice of the Lord.” In perfect freedom we too will say, “Here am I! Send me.”

What if our ‘sending’ is more like quietly sticking with a job or the task at hand and going through the tedium of service wherein God opens doors constantly for us to ‘share the reason for our joy.’ A work and calling that mostly goes unnoticed by the ministry organizations of today, work which seems to have little effect, but nevertheless which pleases the Lord and makes great contribution to those around us.

When we think of ministry or a calling of God, do we immediately think of the person washing the dinner dishes, or the public toilets at a small business with a gospel song and a word of encouragement or Godly correction always ready on their lips. As for me, too often when I heard the word ‘ministry’ or ‘work of God’ I would think of the writers and speakers and front of the room people leading the sheep. But is that type of thing the best way to tend to the sheep? Or does it reinforce the idea that the chosen ones are those who have the ‘obvious’ ministries and the rest of us just haven’t surrendered yet or we’d be there too, on those platforms or working in some ‘actual’ ministry role — (playing on the construct that Jesus set forth when He said many are called but few are chosen).

What if the chosen prove to be the believers who listened to a call which has them in some wilderness places, away from the spotlights and platforms, fighting back against laziness and selfishness by their very witness and life examples, and knowing that in so doing they are being a brother and sister to those who sanctify and preserve what is left. Rather than being a brother to those who destroy.

Could responding to a call from God be as simple as: stop being lazy?

God’s Healthcare And God’s Economy

A family member asked me why I am so wary of the vaccine. He didn’t understand how God could allow something like that to fool so many innocent people (if it’s truly a ‘bad’ thing as I am sensing it could be). I’ve had lots of premonitions now and just a ‘general fear’ regarding it — to the point where I don’t plan to take it myself; even, and especially, if it is forced.

My immediate thought, after being challenged by a family member, was that the God we tend to fashion in our own minds is often a bit different than the God revealed in Holy Scriptures. I’m guilty of making God into what I want Him to be instead of trusting who He really is, and so that was not a judgment of this family member. It’s a warning to myself as much as to anyone else. The real God, revealed in Scriptures, did take great care to warn us ahead of time about what would happen in the time between Jesus ascension and His second coming. And many of these things ARE very hard things to accept; but I think that is exactly why we were warned ahead of time.

Matthew 24: 24- 25 (NLT) For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.

If you aren’t already familiar with all of Matthew 24, I encourage you to refresh your memory and read it for context of the above verse. It parallels with Luke 21 and Mark 13. Here is a handy reference of the major parallels.

Being questioned by this family member started me pondering. I was then able to give voice to some of my reasonings behind the reasonings…things I don’t always share as they are slowly developed in my head by evidence gathered as I live my life and sift out whatever seems evil. And so I tend to think that these evil things I spot in the world must be obviously evil to others as well.

If you aren’t familiar with my background – I am a clergy sexual abuse survivor. Multiple layers of abuse had to be undone in my life for me to heal. I don’t think it is even possible to be sexually abused by anyone in any manner without some sort of brainwashing and emotional abuse coinciding with it, and, in the case of ongoing familial abuse (which mine was) a very, very deep level of brainwashing and grooming tends to occur as well. And in terms of clergy abuse–there was also a great deal of spiritual abuse and spiritual brainwashing.

I have written, fairly extensively, about the process of coming out of all of that brainwashing. The benefits now being that I have the vantage point of someone who has been trapped by evil, and lived to tell about disentangling myself from that evil trap.

And so I will share a bit, here, about what I’ve been seeing that is ‘off’ within the modern healthcare complex.

There were attempts at brainwashing by doctors, nurses, and other proponents of ‘health’. Were it not for my own natural defensiveness that was born in a childhood where people, especially those seeming to show favor to me or wanting to ‘help’ me, really were out to get me and harm me, I probably wouldn’t have picked up on these things. I learned to keep my guard up in order to survive. I once paid several therapists to try and undo all that guard keeping I come by naturally. Thankfully that didn’t fully work.

I see my past, and the discernment skills it honed in me, as a gift of God. All of which adds yet another layer, as to why it wasn’t that big of a stretch for me to see that something evil could definitely come out of an industry that seems to be so helpful and humanitarian. The clergy in my family who abused me was also quite helpful and humanitarian to many; beloved even.

However, not everyone shares my way of processing things, or my past experiences with evil– and so I can see how all of this might be a big stretch for others — which, well, also could just be part of the delusion.

And so I started to explain all the spirit checks I’ve had, myself, to this family member– as I have navigated the modern healthcare complex over a lifetime which included some fairly severe injury as well as recent mystery illnesses which eventually just got chalked up to PTSD. I’ve spent more time in hospitals and navigating the modern healthcare complex, as well as alternative things like diet and various lifestyle changes, than many people my age.

Time and again: very kind, wise, loving, friendly doctors and therapists (some who have even given me permission to call them at home!) have damaged me in their efforts to heal. I’m still thankful they were there, especially in times of real emergency! And, in terms of what the experience, and the failure of some tests too on my part, then revealed about my faith, specifically where I needed to change things, it all proved to have value (Romans 8! God works ALL things for the good of those who love Him! GOD IS GOOD!!).

And so: let it be known that I wouldn’t even be here without modern health care. I remain thankful for that too. But, I would also not be honest if I didn’t admit that there was also damage done too, and more than a few disasters to my walk with God which were barely averted.

Healthcare professionals routinely tried to steer me toward things that could altar my mind — like anxiety and depression meds and other strong medicine I was literally too afraid to take (fear is not all bad, it can be a gift–especially the Holy Fear of God!), or urging me to do yoga and meditation, or suggesting other practices that are full of the new age– certain massage techniques like reiki, and acupuncture, and Chinese medicine beliefs. Chiropractic care, and especially naturopathic and holistic medicine/practitioners, even navigating the aisles of natural health food stores— I found to be a quagmire of eastern and mystical religions, calling out to me like sirens with their lusty promises of cures–some of which I regrettably tried and then repented of, and all of which routinely gave me great pause and many many spirit checks as a Biblical Christian.

The way I see it: there has been next to zero Christian discernment in the modern healthcare complex and even less, it seems, in the rising naturopathic/holistic fields. And many Christians I know will listen to their doctors, or alternative care providers, and follow their directives and readily take all the prescriptions and practices (occult or other) they offer, without really questioning them or researching what the pharmaceutical or supplement or herb is really going to do, from a scriptural context. One Christian friend defended the Medical Medium (the name alone ought to be obvious), claiming he was a Christian– and even if he was not — he’s ‘just recommending people eat more vegetables, what’s the harm in that?’ Another family member told me he had ‘needling’ done, and it worked, after everything else had failed. I was aware that acupuncture had recently been whitewashed over and renamed as needling instead. So I was well aware of it’s eastern religious roots.

But when I said to this family member: needling is an eastern religious practice. How did you reconcile having that done; as a Christian? He blurted back in dismissal, “It didn’t change my faith one bit, it just stopped my pain.”

Hmm. I would argue that such a compromise of one’s faith in God could reveal what one is really putting his faith into. These revelations, if they are recognized, allow us time to repent before we are sealed in the delusion of such sins. But if we aren’t even listening and turning, when others are revealing these things plainly: what happens to us? Does the delusion we are under only intensify and risk our very foundation of faith?

A parallel can be drawn here. Between the blind faith we tend to put in the modern healthcare complex above and beyond our faith to God, and the way we go about church. Specifically how many of us Christians blindly follow and put faith in a minister or church leadership, above and beyond our faith in God Himself. Without really questioning methods or teachings or verifying the practices we are engaging in– being like the Bereans in all things and testing the spirits as 1 John 4 urges.

One could argue (and many already have) that the advent of the Birth Control pill, with it’s abortifacient qualities, all of which came through the modern healthcare and pharmaceutical complex–just as this vaccine is now coming, was enough to bring down judgment upon the entire healthcare/pharmaceutical complex which birthed it and the people who partook of it.

I will briefly mention pharmakeia and then I will quit talking about the modern healthcare complex. Pharmakeia could be its own very deep dive. The pharmaceutical complex, the ‘alternative’ medicines, with all its corruption and mind altering medicines and practices, seems to fit well into the warning in Revelation 18:23, about God’s people refusing to give up their sorceries/witchcraft, which is translated from the greek word: pharmakeia and which is where we get the modern word pharmacy. (See Revelation 18 for context.)

Many other things coming out of the modern healthcare complex (it’s penchant for eastern practices and acceptance of shamanistic techniques is a lot like ‘sorcery’ to me), as well as the naturopathic world (more ‘sorcery’, the way I see it: muscle testing, reiki, acupuncture, mind altering herbs, teas, mushrooms, etc.) do seem to fit into Pharmakeia; as well. It really does seem to me that much of what we now turn to for help with our health is more and more resembling of witchdoctors; than anything godly.

But does anyone care about the Christian purity of healthcare? Catholics are being urged to take the vaccine in an act of charity and good will; being absolved of any guilt for aborted fetal tissue by the Vatican itself. It’s hard to stand against such things, and against the acceptance of standard health care practices. To speak against doctors and nurses can be as difficult to do as to speak against members of the clergy.

“It didn’t change my faith. It just took away my pain.”

Sometimes God has reasons for us to be stuck in pain. Pain might be the clearest indication that we are still alive in Christ.

Then again, what about the pain endured by the clergy abuse survivor, or the medical malpractice victim–where do they get help and support, in a world that doesn’t want to hear anything bad about our designated experts and heroes?

And now I will briefly mention the other half of the title of this post.

A colleague, who seems atheistic on bad days and agnostic when he’s in a good mood, has a favorite expression:

Follow the money trail. There you will find the corruption.

If you get nothing else from this post, I hope you take away this very simple lesson in Discernment!!

If you want to test something, whether it’s a ministry or a vaccine: I suggest you do as my unbelieving friend suggests.

Follow the money trail!

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10.

God’s economy is very different from this world’s economy. Read ALL of 1 Timothy 6 to see a clear example of God’s economic principles.

Sobering.

In God’s economy He bears ALL the cost Himself! In God’s economy, followers of Jesus love others and treat them well, for they know that ‘those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction‘ (1 Timothy 6:9). God’s ministers and evangelists readily bear the cost themselves, and trust that God will provide for them to do so.

A great ‘working’ ‘real life’ example of God’s economy is exemplified very well in something I have witnessed my husband do, at our business, countless times over the years.

It started decades ago with a young man in our community who had fallen into drug use. He gave him a job, trained him how to work, and the young man eventually got clean. To this day that man credits my husband for teaching him ‘the right way to sweep a cement floor’ and many other things too.

Since then I have seen my husband annually and routinely take in, and take on, about one-three, sometimes more, very green employees, some quite young, some almost too old to help anymore, some with few skills and others who come with a lot of baggage. He puts them on the payroll, buys them a pair of work gloves and a pliers, and he sets out, while paying THEM, to teach them skills which they did not have prior. Skills which, once acquired and honed, they often then take and use somewhere else entirely, already well trained under our payroll and experience. Where another then reaps the rewards of an experienced and well trained employee.

His example inspires me constantly to do better at training up others myself. This past year I had some painting projects to complete. I could have hired professionals; but I wanted to do it myself. And it may have been easier in some ways had I just done every bit of it myself. But circumstances kept opening up and I was able to hire four separate amateurs. Some far more green than others. As the months passed and the year comes to a close, I can look back and count up four people, who improved their painting skills as I paid them to help me.

Each one was eager for a chance to make a bit extra cash and several were eager to learn something they had never done prior; as well. And so I found myself showing others the art of cutting a clean line with a paintbrush, next to a ceiling or a baseboard. Someone else had trained me in how to paint like a true professional years prior. I trained others this year; and I paid them as I trained them too. And yes, as much as I could, the conversation while painting walls often steered to my witness of Jesus 🙂

I do not share this to brag about my husband or myself; although I am incredibly proud and thankful for the man God gave me!

I share this to contrast that basic economic and discipleship example with what we see elsewhere in the world; and even now in the church.

The Christian example, and the righteous, godly example: is to BEAR THE COST of discipleship. To actually PAY the mentee while they are still learning the skill. And then turn them loose to benefit OTHERS.

What does it mean when churches and ministries try to hold onto people ‘for life’, when they willingly take money from green people in the name of teaching them discipleship?

What does it mean when the world readily passes the cost of education and vocational training and discipleship processes onto the very people MOST in need of it, people who often cannot even afford it and who have gotten no real training on the homefront?

What does it mean when pharmaceutical companies develop something they then market to save the masses, and instead of patiently testing to see what it might bear out, instead of bearing the cost of any repercussions themselves, they pass all that potential cost onto the very people in need? Knowing that we’re all now so programmed (brainwashed?) to accept that kind of thing as normal — that we will receive the things we bear the cost for, with as much thanks as we might receive God’s FREE gift of eternal value; which came at great cost to HIM?

Passing the greatest economic COST onto those most in need has now just become the accepted economic practices of the world and, sadly, of a lot of the church.

Furthermore, I wonder how many Christians even think to use very basic discernment–follow the money trail–which should lead to the questioning of why the poor and the un-qualified are bearing so much of the cost for the rich, when God would have it be the exact opposite!

I know it’s bad writing form to answer rhetorical questions I just asked in paragraphs above — but I think it all could mean many things. Some are not so pretty: seems much of the professing church is now given over to evil and some kind of strong delusion. And I don’t know for certain but I shudder because it looks this vaccine MIGHT be very, very costly, and very very damaging.

But God’s healthcare and God’s economy will be what rules forever and ever. These other forms are, even as I write this, already passing away. Praise Jesus, creator and King of the universe, for that!!

Maranatha!!

If the trumpet gives a muffled sound, who will prepare for battle?

I was once an avid reader of the Lighthouse Trails blog. Particularly after a friend or family member heartily recommended (or gifted) the latest popular Christian book or movement or minister’s podcast. Which inevitably gave me (yet another) spirit check.

Thankfully, while carefully researching whatever friend or family member had encouraged me to jump blindly into, the Lighthouse Trails writers had almost always already sounded a clear alarm regarding said podcast, book, movement, author, or ministry. And the concerns they raised usually lined up (for the most part) with my own discernment. I found the mere presence of such a resource to be comforting. I felt ‘less lonely’ and ‘less crazy’. Seeing other discerning believers was helpful. It fortified me to resist the pressure to conform and compromise.

Granted, there’d be a few niggling things here and there with which I didn’t fully agree with the Lighthouse Trails writers. Some of that was likely me and my own issues though. Overall–the LT blog was a welcoming place of refuge for me. WAS being the key word there.

The latest guest post on the Lighthouse Trails Blog is shocking for its loudly muffled noise.

The sheer blindness to simple truth, which is on display in this post has me re-considering how much I still want to trust any of what Lighthouse Trails has to share. It seems their affinity for Trump has been costly to their ability to give a clear warning cry. And sadly this is the case with more and more ministries I once followed for encouragement and information.

I feel like an eaglet whose soft padded nest has worn through to the barbed thorns beneath it — time to fly away, as so many of the places I once went to for refuge are now thorny places of danger.

In case you don’t want to read the full article, here are the paraphrased highlights: Trump is responsible for developing the Covid Vaccine! BUT Pfizer hid the completion of their vaccine from the public until November 9th–when it was too late to impact the election in Trump’s favor. When the vaccine was ready for distribution, Pfizer alerted Biden first, not Trump, which was also wrong of them. This article is not the only one giving Trump credit for the vaccine. Even as they claim voter fraud cost Trump the election (voter fraud was also mentioned in the linked LT article) and even as those who voted for Trump are inevitably also the demographic which is the most vaccine hesitant — those same Trumpers still want to make sure he gets credit for making it? I find that so confusing. Muffled Trumpets indeed.

And, even though the vaccine is GOOD– the pandemic itself is actually totally overblown (YET they say YAY to Trump for making a vaccine at warp speed!!??).

If all that muffled noise made sense to you — you might want to stop reading here. We are clearly going to disagree.

Simple logic tells me that IF the pandemic and its associated risks is/are overblown, then that would make the one person (TRUMP) now taking the most public responsibility for a very rushed vaccine: downright EVIL. It simply can’t be both a false pandemic AND a vaccine to end the ‘false’ pandemic also being a major accomplishment. Because if the pandemic is overblown then there is no need for a vaccine. Let alone one that was rushed and has many Christians and others hesitant and outright questioning its safety. No? Does your logic agree or disagree with mine on this?

The linked article above also states that Chemical abortion is on the rise. As is transgender agendas in schools. This after four years of Trump in office–because, well, of course: liberal leftists are to blame for that.

And that Middle East peace deal. What an achievement for Trump!

When I first began to study the end times, Obama was in office and writers and websites and prophesy watchers all told me to watch the Middle East and watch for a peace deal to be brokered as after a peace treaty between Israel and the Arabs is signed, that is when everything would ‘begin’ in earnest. As it will be the antichrist who will ‘confirm a covenant with many’ (Daniel 9:27). Furthermore: when people declare peace and safety–that is when sudden destruction will come on them (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

Had a ‘leftist’ like Obama or Biden been behind the Abraham Accord signed Sept. 15, 2020–would it be seen as a major accomplishment by this same author? Or does biblical discernment change based on which political party is brokering a historic Middle East peace deal?

I won’t even get into the pre-tribulation rapture peeps like JD Faraq, someone else I used to follow avidly and took much comfort from. The vaccine is also bad news to most of them (but Trump, who is behind the vaccine, is still considered a ‘good guy’ to a lot of Pre-Trib peeps)… but yet, JD Faraq insists that a vaccine can’t be the mark of the beast… as we have no beast…YET.

Trump’s big peace treaty was commemorated by a coin with his signature on it. Indeed, Trump likes to take credit for many things, like the pouring out of millions of warp speeded vials (a coincidence which reminds THIS AUTHOR–ME–entirely too much of Revelation’s bowls being poured out…) into humans…yes, Trump really likes to stamp his name (image?) wherever he can…including on a coin which has Saturn and Jupiter aligning on it and quotes the Koran as well as Jeremiah 14:13–‘I will give you lasting peace in this place’

Jeremiah 14:13, in context, is anything but declaring peace. It’s actually quoting the words of false prophets–conclusions made through divinations, idolatry, and delusions of the mind.

Jeremiah 14:13-14

But I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’”

Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations,idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.”

I quoted The Berean Study Bible version of 1 Corinthians 14:8 in the title of this post. That was intentional. Because communicating through masks results in a muffled sound. And there is more than one way to wear a mask, or a veil as the Bible calls it. But for those who are aware of what an unmasked person looks like and sounds like, in this age of masking up, double mindedness and massive deception, it isn’t that hard to know who can be trusted and who it is best to avoid.

The way I see it: any Christian endorsing any political candidate right now is suspect and double minded.

Full disclosure of my own beliefs: I am NOT political, and haven’t voted for a presidential candidate since 2008. I have no idea when the rapture will occur–I hope it’s ASAP, though. But I’m not counting on a rapture, just trusting in Jesus’ plan whatever it looks like. I think we could actually be in the midst of the tribulation, and I do believe the rapture will happen sometime before the wrath of God fully destroys the world.

I think this virus is real, yet the way it has been handled seems very strange and suspicious to me. I am uncomfortable seeing masked people everywhere. I wonder if we are living in times of massive, massive deception and double minded posturing, people hiding their real intentions behind ‘veils.’.

Time will tell just how evil the days we live in really are, or are not. Wisdom is proven by her children/actions. In the meantime, I do not trust anyone holding a high level of political office in the world, right now. I don’t know what to think of the millennium but IF there isn’t a literal millennium, then it sure seems as if the devil has been let off his chain to deceive the nations…but I don’t know.

I also am not even sure that I should be sharing what I really believe and think about all of this, anywhere, as it also seems like the time to ‘sound trumpets’ may now be at a close. If people didn’t love God enough to hear the warning blasts, which I and others have been hearing for years — chances are they won’t hear my trumpet blast either. Therefore me trumpeting out what I see as the truth might only serve to get me in all sorts of trouble that I don’t exactly need. Nevertheless, I will share this bare faced and as open as I can be to the few people who might share my frame of heart and mind and might find it and receive some encouragement or exhortation if needed:

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Jesus told us several important things- which stick out to me-in Matthew 24 – do not be alarmed and do not be deceived. AND: many will turn away from the faith. But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

All of my former soft comforting nests seem to be disappearing now and so I pray that I can keep clinging to the firm rock of Jesus.

Maranatha!

By Faith; And in Holy Fear

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

This verse really struck me yesterday and I am returning to it today.

By Faith

In Holy Fear

Things not yet seen.

By his faith he condemned the world.

There is a LOT to chew on in Hebrews 11:7.

In a time when we are told fear is akin to sin for a Christian, and popular preachers like Rick Warren imply and sometimes outright say that Christians shouldn’t study end times and ‘things not yet seen’ (although it seems many of these unseen things are now becoming pretty clear to me)–the Bible tells us that it was through faith in things NOT YET SEEN, and in holy fear, that Noah built the ark to save his family.

In a time when we are told not to be judgmental or condemning, that the future is full of promise: the Bible tells us that Noah, by his faith in things not yet seen, condemned the whole world.

Even more to chew on when one considers Jesus’ words: As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37

What would Noah do today?

Would he line up for a vaccine?

Or would he stay hidden and busy working, trusting God to save him, in some landlocked place–where the whole world thought it foolish to build a giant boat?

Yoga by any other name is still Yoga

There is a theme in my recent posts. The theme might be summed up as my recent return to embracing my childhood work ethic, after years of chronic illness left me unable to be as active as I would have liked to be. I was stuck in a state of exhaustion and pain which also had me questioning my former life of hard work as well.

My childhood on the farm was one in which lifting hay bales was known to be a better way to build muscles than lifting weights. Then I saw the rise of popular workout regimes (which I won’t name here) where you do things like pound tires with sledgehammers. And this is not done in order to remove the rubber from it’s metal rim to fix a flat, either. People are paying membership fees in order to pound giant tires just to pound them… as exercise… and then posting their sweaty pounding sessions on instagram.

The pride filled, ‘I wanna look like that in a bikini too’, part of me wants to try it with my own tire and hammer…while the former farm girl in me scratches her head and thankfully I am usually able to bring myself out of the temptation.

Working harder with my hands, at some task or other, (even if it’s just running a vacuum across my floors) has been something I feel called to start doing again with increasing vigor and intention. Just to be more active in general and use my time more wisely, not necessarily to look better in a swimsuit.

At the same time: spirit checks and a general mistrust of a lifestyle that is too focused on ‘self-improvement’ continues to keep me from trying the latest workout fad.

A Christian friend who, pre Covid, liked to take long walks with other Christian friends–outdoors in good weather and shopping malls in cold weather–for health reasons; physically, mentally, and spiritually–shared my reservations about getting into the ‘work out life.’ She had similar spirit checks about getting too involved with self-improvement efforts. She understood all I was feeling about it and even shared some of her more alarming experiences when she had tried joining some workout groups of other women in gyms and yoga studios too. Yikes.

But I hesitate to even bring up these feelings with most, as exercise and physical health seem to be generally accepted almost as acts of godliness that aren’t to be questioned.

When I got sick with PTSD and anxiety disorder (and then discovered I had toxicity issues from supplemented foods, environmental exposures, and so-called healthy foods I was eating)–I was told many different things would heal me. The exercise fans told me I just needed to push and exercise my way right through all the pain and then I’d be fine. The therapy fans told me weekly therapy and only mild to moderate exercise, was needed, so I didn’t up my stress levels and could figure out where my thinking was messed up, as physical and mental stress is what had conked out my body.

The standard doctors wanted to give me antidepressants to fix it all. Most of the natural doctors and nutritionists wanted me to take supplements (one even said that certain supplements boosted serotonin and were like natural prozac). The advice ran in all directions. Yet there was a common thread with every therapist and doctor I consulted, from the naturopaths to the conventional ones. From the new age and the buddhist to the Christians. I heard the same advice over and over everywhere I went for help. I braced myself to hear it, as it was so common:

Have you tried Yoga? Are you meditating? It’s been proven to work!

Being a contrarian by nature: I naturally made it my goal to recover without doing yoga and meditation. My avoidance of those methods was more than general contrarianism, though. I was well aware, prior to getting sick, that Yoga prepared the body for death, not life. That it even might open doors to the occult. Same with meditation. That my heart can’t be fully for God while doing a downward facing dog. That if I blank out my mind, anything could enter it. That it is impossible to separate the religious element of Yoga into simple ‘exercise’, and that the devil likes to convince us, by appealing to our pride usually, that his ways are actually beneficial, healthful and restorative; not deadly. Usually sin and evil hooks us by seeming to help us tremendously; only to ultimately lead to death and a numbing of conscience to where we accept worsening sin and evil; in the long run.

And so now that I am being more active, I am looking around at other active people and paying attention to what has happened in the ‘gym scene’ too.

It looks like the swinging hammers at tires phase may be dying out. But, Yoga is really everywhere, now. Except it’s morphed into something else and isn’t being called Yoga. It’s so 2010 to still call it yoga… It’s yoga with prefixes like restorative or hot now, or else it’s just stretching and breath work and preparation for real exercise. In other fitness circles, they proudly boast their method is a blend of yoga (Hindu) and taoism.

Not like it matters, though. Even if yoga was always still being called yoga, most Christians I know would not have a problem doing it to try and keep or restore their health. Just as they haven’t for nearly a decade now.

In general, what’s happened in the exercise world since I last looked into it, seems to be about what has happened in the church and the world, too. The deception has morphed into something so puffed up that if one wasn’t aware of the dangers such things held as seeds; one isn’t going to now recognize the fullness of its rotten fruit, either.

Meanwhile: I am thinking this is just more proof of the lateness of the hour. And that I might have to find a hayloft and an old school farmer who needs it organized. That may be about the only safe thing left for my hands to do right now.

Expectancy

Waiting.

Watching.

Pregnancy.

This is the month most of Christianity celebrates the advent of Jesus as a babe in Bethlehem so long ago.

I went through a phase where I questioned all of that. It’s trendy to call what I did: deconstruction. As in: I ‘deconstructed my faith’. However, I am not a fan of buzzwords. They become overused and cliche pretty quickly and all of a sudden I’m annoying people with highbrow language. So I’ll use a deep analogy to annoy readers instead, LOL.

Starting in my late twenties and peaking in my early thirties, I dug down as deep as I could into the soil of my own life and I examined every root which I could get my hands on. This led to the shedding of a lot of things and the solidifying of other things. Thereby I made the religion I was ‘born into’, into my own chosen religion instead. I walked away from Protestantism and became a biblical Christian.

Ever dug up tree roots? It’s messy work. It’s hard work. It’s often alarming work too, as you find buried things which you never expected to find.

Which is how I came to give up Christmas for a few years, too. Well, not entirely. I found it was impossible for me to totally get rid of Christmas. But it was scaled way back. Most presumed I was joining the ‘Christmas has gotten too commercialized’ movement or something. My dilemma was far more of a spiritual dilemma than merely questioning the seeming ‘need’ to go shopping and decorating. When certain politicians and conservatives were insisting everyone say ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of happy holidays: I wasn’t sure that Christ belonged in Christmas.

I couldn’t find Christmas in the Bible. I’m not talking about the account in Luke which we refer to as the Christmas story. I’m talking about how scholars are unsure which day and month of the year Jesus’ day of birth occurred. As well as the lack of a biblical command to celebrate His day of birth. I read compelling theological arguments for a fall birth, during the feast of tabernacles. As well as sound reasoning for why a December birth was possible too–as there were shepherds staying out in the fields watching the temple’s sacrificial sheep at night, year round, not just in the warmer months. Others believe that the immaculate conception likely occurred in late December and so celebrating Christmas on December 25th was appropriate either way.

Meanwhile what has become known as Easter–I could find that in the recorded account, in the passover feast and in Jesus’ command that His followers continue to keep it and commemorate His death. In Hebrew and early Christian life the day of death was known to be better than one’s day of birth: Ecclesiastes 7:1, Philippians 1:21.

But the Christian Easter is calculated by the moon cycles, and doesn’t always correlate with the Jewish passover. Therein I saw another problem.

With those I shared the deeper reasons with, I still felt misunderstood. Some judged my giving up on Christmas and questioning of Easter as if I was giving up on Jesus. Others thought I wanted to become a part of their religion (Hebrew Roots movements, Jehovah’s Witnesses). When I felt I was doing the opposite — actually searching for the real Him amidst the existing religious offerings of the world and Christendom.

Now that I have a lot of energy back again, I take part in Christmas without much dilemma, just an awareness that it isn’t all as ‘necessary’ or even as edifying as I thought it was earlier in my life.

It’s fun for me to decorate and keep a nice and welcoming home, to entertain people at our table on a cultural and/or Church holiday (yes, I am aware that is difficult to do in a pandemic.) And I like to be reminded of Jesus through music and the focus on Him that occurs this time of year. I feel that the message of the cross isn’t as fickle as to be threatened by whether or not I put some winter greenery on my mantle. I do, however, think it can be dangerous to wrap Jesus up as a baby, and keep Him there…

Regardless, I’m not really sure why all that stuff once bothered me as much as it did. Except that I needed to dig up the roots of my life and make that big mess I made in order to be set free from many, many things that had me trapped.

Plus, at the time I scaled Christmas back, I was exhausted and starting to get sick and truly questioning if a Christian should even celebrate what has become known as Christmas. When one is too exhausted to fully partake, plus one’s own conscience isn’t clear on a matter — it is best to avoid it (Romans 14).

This December already feels so different than any I’ve lived through prior. I’m back in touch now with the child hood work ethic I once knee-jerk saw as part of ‘being worldly’ or as putting one’s work above God. And I’m pondering all the verses and songs about Jesus ‘coming to earth at His birth’ and seeing their dual fulfillment in Jesus’ second coming. That second coming feels nearer now than it ever has prior. Which motivates me to continue working hard right up ‘to the end’.

In sharing my thoughts with others. (Seeing this season as a time to prepare myself for His second coming), I’m getting a return of the familiar ‘I think I am being horribly misunderstood in my approach to Christmas.’

To clarify: I’m not checking out of my life and waiting on a high hill for Jesus to appear in the air, as the angels appeared to tell the shepherds the good news at His first coming. It’s more like this: I feel this urgency to find a neglected hill in my life; to get busy tending some sheep on, or else I might miss the great appearing in the sky entirely…

I’ll return to that in a minute.

Let’s just say that I feel like there is pregnancy in the air. And something else stirring me which reminds me of the nesting phase prior to a baby’s arrival. A need to stay busier with my hands so that my mind can be more solidly focused on God. It works that way; for me. If I want to lose focus on God, I just need to lie around for a few days and then I’ll be scattered and not able to think clearly.

It also struck me last month, when reading the Book of John, how the fishermen, who were busy fishing when Jesus approached them, instantly recognized Him as Messiah. The learned men who were well studied and presumedly ‘watching’ for signs of Messiah – for the most part, missed seeing Jesus as Messiah. I wonder if that was because they weren’t actually, well, working at something, at the time of Jesus’ arrival on the ministry scene.

What does fishing look like? It means I show up at the office and keep things in order there. When at home: vacuum and mop the floors, do the laundry, keep in touch with loved ones, read the books and blogs I find edifying, work on writing projects (which may never actually get published), clean the closets, study the Bible, memorize verses, go for walks to clear my head and keep my body in shape, even when its cold outside, and always be ready for a knock at the door or a phone call from someone who wants to visit– and– generally: Keep all things under my charge in good order…or in other words: I just need to keep working, literally. Or as Jesus commanded: Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning (Luke 12:35).

I feel that I need to prepare not only for imminent return but for a lengthy time of Him tarrying in which I may face persecution OR continued prosperity and protection. Or some kind of a situation where brothers or sisters in Christ will ask for extended shelter in my home, or even the garage where our pets stay…a season where I am awkward and lumbering along myself, overdue and growing worn out, and must stay active regardless, all the while patiently enduring life here on earth– navigating the good stuff which tempts me to fall away from God and the bad which tempts me to despair too– whether the arrival I wait for comes quickly; or a long time from now.

Either way, I sense its long past time to get to work and/or to stay content in that work. I sense that will be the best possible way to actually prepare for my life to be completely up-ended by Jesus’ sudden arrival. Which will be as surprising as the onset of labor pains–even after nine months of knowing it is coming–it’s always surprising when it actually happens.

Yet I do think a surprise arrival will be less damaging and more likely to go well, if we realize the pregnant state of things, and that a pregnancy means there is a lot of work and preparation and study and reconnecting which needs to be done before we are ready to receive a child.

Get right with Jesus, pray and repent and praise Him daily. Examine our roots and take our born-into faith and either toss it, or, if its sound: truly make it our own born-again lifestyle.

Then continue cleaning that closet out, keep on fishing, or hammering, or watching after the sheep. Just as the fishermen were doing when Jesus appeared to them and told them to drop their nets and follow Him. And thirty years prior to that: just as the shepherds were doing when they were told the good news of a baby born to save the world and they left their work to go see Him.

The pattern that I deduce from scripture is that work and busyness isn’t necessarily the problem at all. Certainly not to the level which the pop-psychologists of the world, and even the church, often proclaim it to be.

The precedent seems to be that people whose hearts were right with God were actually found being busy; working and then they readily left their work to follow Jesus.

Perhaps those who missed Jesus the first time around, will be just as those who miss His second coming: not busy enough. I pray He finds me, and all my loved ones, fishing when He comes again. And that we all drop our nets and go with Him eagerly.

Do Christians need a wake up call from other Christians?

Jesus said, ‘For wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.’ (Luke 12:34 NLT).

I’ll return to that concept.

But first: I liked a lot of what this article had to say. However, based on the ‘no politically-bent comments will be posted’ disclaimer at the beginning, I excitedly presumed I was going to be reading something soundly spiritual. A wake up call for the church to come out of the worldly realm of politics, not a call to choose the less corrupt side of Joe Biden (in the author’s opinion). That is what I didn’t like about it. Oh, I am wary and alarmed of all the ‘Christian Trumpers’, too. As I’ve written before, I simply realize I don’t have to pick a monkey in the world’s circus.

The article gave me pause in another way as well. I began pondering the idea of Christians giving other Christians ‘a wake up call’. This caused a lot of self-examination on my part. As, of course Christians need to give one another a wake up call is usually my thinking. Recently I’ve been questioning my thinking though.

I’ll return to all that as well. First, I’d like to address the political bent in that linked ‘wake up call to the church’ article. Wouldn’t BOTH Biden and Trump; who represent the ultimate manifestation of ’empire’– be like Satan tempting Jesus with a shortcut to all that He eventually had coming anyway?

Empire being in direct contrast to the throne of the lamb (Jesus). Therefore, following the Lamb OUT of Worldly Empire is the ultimate wake-up call which God gave in Revelation (and much of the Bible, the way I see it). By the way: I learned the ‘Empire versus following the Lamb’ concept from the book ‘Reading Revelation Responsibly’ by Matthew J. Gorman. (This is NOT an endorsement of that book. I took some things from it, but found other things troubling–like his quoting of Eugene Peterson.)

Had the title of the linked article been something like, “Why I am voting for Biden; as a Christian” I likely wouldn’t have read it. Not because I am for Trump, either, as stated above and elsewhere on my blog. But because the Lord called me out of my former political involvements, as I’ve also stated several times here. That is why I don’t spend much time reading why Christians vote the way they do. I find it distracting and fear it also might prove tempting. 

The wake-up call went off, for me, after the stock market crash in 2008 and the resulting behaviors of the politicians of the ‘Christian Right’ in bailing out the banks. That event, along with the Lord putting several Christian ‘end timers’ into my path, sparked me to study eschatology. As well as to actively work to get out of debt, and to try and change some other things I’d accepted as ‘normal’.

I couldn’t in good conscience vote for any option for President since waking up and then seeing the unfolding of more (and more) wake up alarms in the world, America, and in American politics too. The hour seems too late for me to risk further involvement in politics and I shudder at how involved with the worldly empire I still remain. Or, as the above linked article called it, accepting ‘Satan’s shortcut’.

Thanks to what began unfolding for me in 2008, I better realize the dangers of colluding with worldly empire. Particularly in order to try and gain what I will eventually have coming anyway (if I can restrain myself from involvement in these sort of ‘bull fights’ and stay content at the Throne of Jesus).

The way I see it (and I could be wrong, these are just my opinions): God has already given wake up calls to the church. The calls were/are often being ignored…I ignored plenty of wake up calls myself in the past! I get it. My heart’s desire was not entirely sold out for God. I pray it is more sold out now than prior. I was a living reflection of Jesus’ words about ‘wherever your treasure is, there will also be the desires of your heart.’

For most of my life I preferred to stay in bed with the world, hitting the snooze button; lulled by the words my adulterous lover was whispering to me which made me not even notice the annoying sound of alarms going off every few minutes.

And now, over a decade later since my big wake up call moment in 2008– our world is even closer to global ‘oneness and unity’ through one world religion and government. The NAR (New apostolic reformation–Paula White, etc. — Trump’s inner circle religious posse) and the RCC (Biden’s religious posse) are like two sides of the same coin, seeming to be different and somehow antagonistic from one another. Yet ultimately I fear everyone will end up in the same spiritual condition by following either side: little gods who bow down to one another, trying to be as God and re-build a unifying worldwide ‘tower of babel’, which is like thumbing one’s nose at the real God. 

Thesis + antithesis = synthesis. Things can often seem so different between the thesis and the antithesis, that it’s tempting to think there isn’t actually going to be some ultimate synthesis waiting in the wings by going along with one of the two choices we seem to be given. There’s Satan’s shortcut temptations again.

Which is why choosing either side seems dangerous, adulterous, and even idolatrous, to me.

I see Jesus as the third, usually unseen and un-marketed, option. I hope to cling to Him, to ‘otherness’ and not be sucked into oneness (otherness versus one-ness is a concept I heard from Carl Teichrib, a researcher and author of the incredible book: Game of Gods. I am working my way through it, and so I can’t endorse it YET, but let’s just say I am in awe of the research he has compiled and his insights into what is happening in the world and in religion).

I think historically that is what it meant to BE a Christian: to choose Jesus as the unseen and un-marketed third option whenever the world put forth a thesis and antithesis option.

But again: I may be wrong. That’s the beauty of the gift of free will. We all get to use our own free will in these matters. And we also get to choose whether or not to push the snooze button and keep sleeping, when God sounds those wake up alarms. It can be risky to try and wake up sleepers–it may also not even be part of God’s plan for us to go around ‘sounding alarms’ either, when the human heart ‘wants what it wants’ to quote a popular song lyric. But we don’t need popular songs when we have the Bible. It has already said all which can be said anyway. Like this verse:

Song of Songs 8:4 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

This verse, the article I linked above, as well as Jesus’ words about my treasure dictating the desires of my own heart: has me re-examining my own desires, including my eagerness to ‘warn others’ and ‘sound alarms’ and all that. What is really behind all that anyway?

Hopefully I can turn my own desires back to Him whenever I find myself tempted toward adultery and idolatry with the world. Thereby my example might also urge others to return to Jesus as first and only love.

Perhaps it’s best to leave the actual wake up calls, the sounding of alarms and all that-to God. And not insist that people who still desire to push snooze ‘get up already‘.

Would you want to have a friend, let alone a lover, who doesn’t even desire your company enough to get out of bed when you call for him to come and meet you?

Then what makes us think God wants us going around trying to wake up adulterous lovers for Him?

Maybe its best to let the sleepers sleep. And let those of us who are awake– return to, and try to keep, our own desires for God.