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.

Whatever your hand finds to do…

Do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:10.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, Colossians 3:23

I’ve always loved those two Bible verses. The latter more than the first. Ecclesiastes can be a bleak book–it reflects King Solomon’s (if Solomon is actually its author) ultimate falling away from God.

Therefore, I feel it too often reads more like the life of an unbeliever (‘meaningless’!). Which can be a wonderful example and lesson of ‘what not to do’ (and believe). In comparison to someone who relies fully on God and knows that all we do for the Lord is NOT futile and pointless, but will last and/or be rewarded in the life to come, if not this one.

Ecclesiastes captivated me in my youth. These days I prefer the philosophy and life lessons in the ‘study to show yourself approved’, ‘let us not grow weary of doing good’, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength’ ‘take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ’…. ‘Jesus is coming soon and so is your reward’ (that one was paraphrased!) messages scattered throughout the New Testament Epistles.

Since the pandemic hit last March, I’ve added the following verse, also about ‘work’, to my list of favorites:

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others. 1 Thessalonians 4:12.

This verse was reflective of the vocational climate in my childhood. Were it not for the rampant emotional and physical abuse, the pornography exposures, and the whitewashed Christian veneer hiding the sexual abuse in my family, it would have been a great childhood. Honestly.

I grew up with a strong Middle American work ethic at a time when farm folks still had a measure of real economic independence. As Thessalonians encourages, most farmers I knew did NOT depend on others. They were self sufficient and admired for their character traits. Though they were often broke and/or in debt–they frequently helped one another out with their work –and they didn’t have the current yokes and collusions with government and big agri-business, on which they have now become quite dependent.

Therefore I grew up like everyone around me: suspicious of government interventions and corporate America. I stayed busy doing chores, working with my hands, learning my way around a pigpen, a cattle yard, an equipment shop, and a grain field. And I had plenty of time to read challenging things which were far above my young head (our Television was fuzzy and rarely on). We were also, for the most part, a great deal poorer than people living and working on the Corporate America Coasts.

I eyed visitors who came from the cities, with their fancy cars and clothes, with awe and curiosity. As well as a painful awareness that I was poor and backwards, with bad clothing and shoes.

The farm programs, government interventions, and involvement of Con-Agra, which swept in in the 1990’s, brought a decline in work ethic, the removal of the general wariness of government and corporations, and much nicer clothes and cars to the farmsteads around my childhood home.

Just the way I see it. Others might disagree.

These days we have oodles of thriving boutiques and home decor stores in my Middle American mid-sized town. Much of the style borders on the boujee to me. Nevertheless, when traveling or receiving visitors from elsewhere, it’s obvious that the middle income Midwesterner enjoys what once only belonged on the coasts, and now is hard to find there. Unfortunately: that old midwestern work ethic and wariness of government seems to be disappearing along with the poverty.

I suspect the rise of internet, cable/ satellite TV, video games, and smart phones also took a ding to the once prevalent: we-are-poor-but-at-least-we-know-how-to-work culture.

We do retain some ethical holdover from former eras though. I suspect that is why big companies will still ‘head hunt’ for young adults from the Midwest.

I didn’t always enjoy the hard work parts of my childhood. In part because too many of the good formative experiences were sandwiched between abusive and unhealthy behaviors.

Plus, that level of physical work is an acquired taste. The current popularity of gym memberships shows how many people do realize the value of sweat equity and physical activity. And God bless you if you just love the gym. I don’t love it. Plus, I would rather NOT pay someone else to vacuum my house and scrub my floors while I pay a gym to use a machine on which I’m not accomplishing a single thing at all… when my arms won’t really know the difference between that machine or a mop handle and then at the end of the day I can see that I actually did something productive…there’s my childhood talking again.

At one time I ran as far from my past as I could. Except then God stuck me right back in a very similar place to that in which I was born. I did the human thing and just rebelled against the place itself, in my own heart and mind.

It was easy to label all the hard workers around me as ‘workaholics’. People with energy were often just a reminder of how bleak things were for me as a child. And since I knew that being poor sucked, what was wrong with taking some government stimulus and bailout and disaster relief program money anyway? It’s better than remaining in poverty for the sake of dignity. Poverty is traumatic in and of itself and lacks any kind of dignity — I think I have written posts on that somewhere on this blog; they may be set to private now though.

I ventured into all the world’s wisdom, and the pointlessness of life and the downsides of hard work, more than once. When I got physically and emotionally sick, I also pretty much checked out of my social and my work life as well. I even tried being lazy, intentionally, to try and heal from my own presumed workaholism and stress effects.

I judged others who retained their hard work ethics. Ducking out of my former hard work lifestyle seemed to help me physically so maybe everyone just needed more vacation and meditative time… Until I woke up one day and realized I was too young to act like I’m eighty.

Turns out my brain remained as active as my body always wanted to be. And that even when my body is in pain; not moving it at all will only make the pain worse.

So now that I have worked through much of the child abuse, I am sifting out a distaste for the ‘place’ and personality in which it occurred from the actual abuse itself. In so doing, and by pushing myself physically far more than I am even comfortable doing some days–I am also now feeling my body heal to the point of being able to be very active again.

Perhaps that is a factor in why and how I have returned to an appreciation of many aspects of my own trauma filled childhood.

I am glad that I was raised amongst mostly-poor farm folk where the barns for the animals were often nicer and more costly than the farmhouse. Oh and barns used to trigger me, too. They were actually the ‘stuff of nightmares’ for most of my life.

But enjoyment and appreciation of the place, and the landscape is being restored to me now. I haven’t had a scary barn dream in a few years. I find myself eyeing the old barns and farmsteads with love; when we go for long country drives. I stop to take photos often.

Though it took me a while to reconcile it all, I am realizing that people who work extra hard and/or who truly enjoy their work are not automatically ‘workaholics’, and should not be labeled and judged as such.

Now that I’m more active again myself: I’m once again in danger of judging others as being lazy, though. There’s always some sin crouching at the door…

The way I see it, those who have stayed active even in the midst of health and other crises are probably going to be the same personality types who will continue to spread the gospel and hold steadfast to Jesus; even in times of great peril, confusion, temptation, and persecution. Therefore, getting one’s work ethic back in order is pretty important.

Since I no longer spend hours a day in therapy work, navel gazing and trying to heal from past trauma, my brain is once again picking up on what’s happening around me and trying to grasp many things which remain ‘far above my head’. Meanwhile, my yard and home and business is showing the recent influx of care and work. I am able to sleep soundly and restoratively at night, after a day spent working with my hands–just as I did growing up.

Now for the real point of this essay: as I have personally gotten back in touch with the childhood work ethic of my past in 2020: I have been noticing and grappling with the ironic and nonsensical system of beliefs rising up within my still-calls-itself-hardworking, ‘Trump country’ community; during Covid19.

We’ve had the opposite of an economic fall out, here, it seems–and that boon started long before 2020. A lot of farm people are restoring those old barns mentioned above, which now sit empty of animals; next to their fully loaded million dollar equipment sheds. A lot of the hard work does go on, even amidst the wealth, though. Therefore, it’s the source of the wealth which troubles me most.

I want to believe that our local economic escape in 2020 was from a good work ethic combined with our spread out and sparse population, a different, self-responsible attitude about risk and one’s own health, and many businesses courageously remaining open throughout the chaos. However, I suspect that our booming economy is actually far more from a combination of the socialistic actions of the government pouring money into our economy and our own greed in making sure we get our own share of that American Pie. As well as general self-interest and a stubborn refusal to conform, or truly care about, one’s neighbor above one’s self.

The government has poured out money into Agriculture-based hands for several decades now. Yet in the last several elections Socialism was frequently used as a pejorative by those same folks. And the idea was touted, (from both sides), that we had to get involved in politics to ‘save our democracy.’ As if democracy and capitalism and that kind of freedom is even a thing anymore?

To quote and to paraphrase some very wise and prescient things I read somewhere else (and am feeling too lazy to go search for it-how’s that for work ethic-LOL?)

It’s only socialism when someone else is receiving free government handouts. When I’m receiving it; it’s still capitalism!

Government handouts are now labeled ‘stimulus packages’ or ‘disaster payments’ or ‘relief packages’ in order to hide the fact that they are, in essence, socialism.

So let’s take a look at the socialistic things which swept into America under other names and let’s also note who was in charge when it happened.

The second George Bush signed the law which bailed out banks and big industry BEFORE Obama took office. Which was one of the many reasons I was able to easily remove myself from ‘being political’ after I felt the Lord chastening me for my heart and mind (and literal) involvement in that corrupted and worldly realm–back in 2008-2009.

This year, while he was still president (and by the way some of my friends think he IS going to actually remain president too) ‘Capitalism Loving’ (?) Trump signed into law and then extended the PPP Small Business Administration program and oversaw what came to be known as CoronaCash (for farmers) and that’s not even mentioning the stimulus package where everyone under a certain income level received a check ‘from the government.’

Still think Bernie Sanders is the only Socialist in Washington? Even he is taking some heat for voting for the PPP program by his own supporters; since it’s proven to be so corrupt.

BUT these things were all good, and needed, right?

No one wants to see a small business fail, right?

Or, perhaps hiding behind a cry of ‘we have to help the small businesses’ is a clever cover for more corruption?

And perhaps behind the socialism lies something with an even harder bite to it.

I don’t know the answers to the above questions. I just know that it seems few are even asking the questions, or pausing to think what we are really colluding with and accepting when taking ‘free money’ from the government. Perhaps we are all too busy to think—busy shopping and filling our barns and homes with more things; all thanks to the influx of Corona Cash. Meanwhile Revelation urges us to come out of her my people so that you do not partake of her sins or share in her plagues.

When a nearby farmer, who got both corona cash and a PPP loan… complained about the young adults voting for Biden because they just wanted their student loans forgiven… Can you believe their sense of entitlement? Don’t they understand that socialism doesn’t work! Without capitalism, our country will be toast! — I tried not to snort out loud as he drove away in a shiny new pickup with a Trump bumper sticker.

I realize I have a super power nose that often picks up scents before others can smell them.

But at what point is everyone else going to smell America’s toast burning?

in one day

After reading Revelation 17-18 recently, I was struck by a couple of things.

First off: For many years now I suspect that my dwelling place in Middle America is akin to being trapped in ‘the belly of the beast’. I know that I am captive to, and trapped by, modern Babylon; perhaps even the very Babylon mentioned in Revelation 18. This used to bother me. I’d wonder often if we shouldn’t pack up, sell off our extra stuff, and move somewhere else. Perhaps New Zealand or somewhere that isn’t as corrupt as America seems to have become.

But recently I realized a few things about captivity. Daniel, and his three friends, were captive to Ancient Babylon. But yet they did not join Babylon, and Daniel survived its eventual destruction too. Joseph was captive to Egypt, and even influenced the building up of Egypt. Yet at the end of Egypt, prior to its fall, Moses was called out of the Egyptian ways. He chose to identify as a Hebrew slave – just in time to witness the fall of Egypt (and escape it himself, as he led the rest of God’s people out with him).

And so perhaps it is one thing to be captive to Babylon (or Egypt). It’s another to be a part of Babylon. To join it. To be in collusion with it. And to continue to want to affect outcomes IN it.

Have I joined Babylon? Am I partial to the outcomes playing out within it? Or am I so wrapped up in God’s kingdom and anticipating the coming of my King Jesus–that I’m not at all distracted or swayed by the peer pressure to go and ‘cast my vote’ this year, to make allegiances with ‘one side or the other’ to ‘choose the lesser of two evils’?

Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Pour her a double portion from her own cup. Give her as much torment and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a widow; I will never mourn.’ Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”Rev. 18:4-8

I do not know what the ‘therefore in one day’ means. Perhaps it is a literal undoing that will happen all at once. Or perhaps some event that occurs in one day will be like ‘the final tipping point’? Which is why I shudder when I think of how big of a deal one particular day has become in American culture, where we are told we can all go and participate in our government process.

Election Day.

Is there a chance that God is watching how His people act (or don’t act) on this ‘one day’ and that after that one day is over, more judgments will fall, because so much of our actions have shown that we are choosing to be a part of Babylon rather than to simply remain captive within her, as we wait for Jesus to finally free us?

I have no idea. I may be wrong in having, let alone sharing, these thoughts. I can only share, definitively, my own journey and chosen courses of action. And so I will say this: in the past I felt it was ok to vote for local officials and local proposed laws and just leave the president boxes unmarked (leaving boxes blank is an option on election ballots).

This year I am feeling called to avoid the entire thing, top to bottom. The plagues coming on Babylon make me shudder and I want to remain in Jesus as much as I possibly can. Lord knows I will need as much help as possible to do that too, as everywhere I look in my life, I see the trappings of Babylon. Sigh.

Voting simply isn’t worth the potential risk. I’m already skating on thin ice, with my comfy life here in Middle America.

The Evolution of a Necklace

This soliloquy is something I wrote over a decade ago and which rings more and more true every year that passes–it is about the undoing of what I knew of faith; in order to find real faith. It seems especially prescient now– as I watch what in many ways was a scary summer for all of us– turn into a fall that holds just as many unknowns. The urge to know as much as I can and help as much as I can is tempered by old lessons from those furious cycles of my past wherein I tried to figure it all out and came up short. Every. Single. Time.

It still seems a bit crazy, selfish, and callous– to be at rest, and even to dare to laugh when the whole world seems to be burning down around us. But then I look back and I remember it’s been this way for a while. And that God already showed me what to do once before in times like this. And when He gave me those revelations– I usually put them down on paper–or into a file in my computer– for later use — if nothing else just to be able to minister again to my own self. Knowing how to be your own minister, especially when you were abused for forty years by a minister–is one of the greatest gifts–and I am thankful God gave it to me.

The Evolution of a Necklace

In bed with Montezuma’s flu,

late in the morning,

when I turned thirty-two—

twisting my head on the pillows

I thought I saw

a tiny container of woven straw.

 

Under the round Caribbean lid,

a bit of turquoise tissue hid—

Dominican blue

Larimar stone

set into a simple silver cross.

 

Its clean lines,

a contrast from the frilly amber

set in golden lacy designs,

had stood out in the lighted glass display

the evening we roamed the street

pretending not to be looking

for my birthday treat.

 

That hazy morning I found it,

head spinning—

tongue tasting bile—

The joy of discovering the hidden gift

made a trip turned miserable—worthwhile.

 

At home it matched every outfit,

from casual and messy to dressy—

the bright color of sky lit up my eyes.

Forget the jewelry in the box,

I thought that necklace the best looking

piece ever formed into a cross.

 

But everything changed as thirty-three

was revealed to me.

 

Many things were found.

 

Others went missing…

 

Perhaps it had stuck itself into a sweater,

fell through a pocket,

or slipped into the washer for a whirl.

I scoured the floor, and every drawer…

It was stolen, I halfway decided,

since so very many had admired it.

 

Days passed, and a few sleepless nights—

I saw that I had been wrong,

and done wrong, while doing the very things

I’d thought were good; and right.

 

I’d always known that the Savior had died for me—

and I had worn His symbol with pride—

rejoiced in what it did to my eyes—

held it up to the light—

like some sort of prize.

 

That cross was a gift given

in a different season.

And was lost, when it was,

for a good reason.

 

In time the sting of its loss went away.

I no longer needed

to put Him into a symbol.

He dwelt in my heart, where He belonged.

 

…sincerity, prosperity, generosity, and charity—

Theology, idolatry, prophecy, and eschatology…

I tried to find a balance in all the Y’s.

Back and forth I went,

As more and more things

to which I used to cling

just up and left my head—

or got kicked out of my heart.

 

Sometime after thirty-four,

I knew there had to be more

than living in the extreme,

seeing ‘Pagan’ in everything,

having to walk so slow,

when you’d rather skip and run…

 

On my knees yielding a wet rag like a sword,

head stuck deep, in the bathroom cupboard

cleaning crannies I hadn’t touched in eons—

I found it inside a bag full of tampons—

an irony which caused a smile,

and a burst of laughter too.

The joy of re-discovering the hidden gift

made a trip suddenly turned miserable—worthwhile.

 

Holding it gingerly in my grasp,

I opened the clasp with dirty scuffed fingers,

stood from creaking knees,

and watched in the mirror

as the cross settled down

above my heart.

 

Returning the bag

to its place on the shelf

I thought to myself—

He’d simply been waiting

for me to see that He doesn’t bless

in ways understood by the world.

Even if made of expensive stone—

a symbol has no worth.

Just as nothing we do, or own, or give,

realize, theorize, or give permission to plagiarize

…means all that much after all.

 

Yet, with Him involved; it can.

 

That second time around,

after finding the gift unexpectedly

under the sink—

I didn’t even pause to think.

 

I slipped it on without hesitation,

fully aware of my humble station—

a past partaker in the debate

over graven images; works done in vain;

and many other truths that can set us free—

or steal our joy.

 

The evolution of the necklace

wasn’t about finding

some deep hidden meaning,

discerning all the rights

from all the wrongs…

it was about laughter, and peace,

Him letting me know He’s

taking great care of me,

and smiling upstairs,

wanting me to smile too

while my heart is repaired.

 

When He put that pretty stone ’round my neck again,

the journey, quite frankly, became much more fun.