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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The knowledge of the Holy One

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” (Prov. 9:10).

Do we seek knowledge and wisdom and understanding? Who doesn’t? Do we seek that trust which rests in confidence that we haven’t built up our lives upon a mountain of lies?

I invite you to consider the God of righteousness and love. Consider Him whose chief desire is to love and be loved by His vast intelligent creation. And consider Him who ever maintains His Law of righteousness and cannot allow the infinitesimally least deviation from it without bringing to His heart the infinitesimally greatest grief and pain.

An interesting statement in the book, The Creator and the Cosmos, by Hugh Ross:

Unless the number of electrons is equivalent to the number of protons to an accuracy of one part in 10[to the 37th power], or better, electromagnetic forces in the universe would have so overcome gravitational forces that galaxies, stars, and planets never would have formed.

One part in 10[to the 37th power] is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover the entire North American continent with dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles…Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billions of piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 10[to the 37th power]. And this is only one of the parameters that is so delicately balanced to allow life to form.”

“Other delicate balances exist as well,” adds Clifford Goldstein in the book, Life without limits, “with variables even more unforgiving than the one above (ratios such as 1: 10[to the 40th power] or 1: 10[to the 60th power])—relationships that demand a precision far beyond what most human-made science would dare dream of achieving.”

Then he makes this comparison:

…God… who, as He created the universe with physical laws, also endowed it with moral ones….
Suppose, for instance, that God’s moral laws were just as precise, just as finely tuned, as His physical ones? Consider that such transcendent morality was just as unyielding, just as intolerant of deviation or violation, as the physical constants mentioned above? It’s one thing to have a physical law precise to 10[to the 60th power]. But could you imagine a moral law with a margin of error just as refined?


This illustrates the statement of Job. “Behold, He putteth no trust in His saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in His sight.” (Job 5:15). The precision and glory of the heavens do not even approach His expectations and example. “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” (Rev. 20:11).

And yet, His infinite grace is equally ready and generously doled out as inexhaustibly as is His own demanding righteousness and perfect obedience to His moral Law.

Who could last a nano-second in His presence without His mercy extended to that person? How could He ever have His kingdom, His children, throughout the immensity of creation, whom He loves and whose love He craves, if He did not constantly and forever and ever and ever overlook their ineptness at His standard of infinite perfection ?

So I extrapolate that God’s balance of justice and His mercy is more fine-tuned than are His physical laws governing the cosmos—that He deviates from His balance of truth and grace toward us not less than 1: 10[to the 100th power]. That makes them pretty much set in granite.

So God is approachable, but that kind of holiness requires an intercessor. And we have one and always have had one. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (1 Tim. 2:5;Rev. 13:8).

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:14-16).

“Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption,” “that no flesh should glory in His presence.” (1Cor. 1:30,29). With Jesus we get the whole package, holiness and a wisdom founded on love—complete redemption in Him. He will bring us all the way to salvation, where we will want to obey, and where righteousness will be pleasant to the soul.

“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.” (Prov. 2:10,11).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The fall of the wall

Two days ago I mentioned, “Bible prophecy says our Constitution will fall, and once it does force and misery will exist everywhere. The Church of Rome will have regained the power it lost to the Protestant Reformation and the birth and prosperity of America.”

I would like to explain the Bible prophecy I mentioned.

Revelation 13 begins with a seven-headed beast walking up out of the sea. If you look closely, the body parts come from the same beasts from a dream Daniel had. In Daniel chapter 7, Daniel sees a lion with wings come up out of a stormy sea. This was followed by a bear, raised up on one shoulder, with 3 ribs in its mouth. Afterward, a leopard came out having 4 heads and 4 wings. Finally, a fourth beast Daniel couldn’t recognize, having 10 horns, big iron teeth and big brass claws. Daniel was terrified and needed to know what this monster was all about.

Concerning these, the angel told Daniel, “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.” (Dan. 7:17). These 4 animals, following as they do a previous dream by King Nebuchadnezzar representing a sequence of 4 empires, symbolize the same empires.

The lion signified Babylon, easily interpreted since the winged lion was used in reliefs that decorated the large walls of the city, Babylon. The bear with 3 ribs prefigured Media-Persia. The higher shoulder was a symbol of Persia which would dominate Media, and the 3 ribs being the 3 powerful regions of Babylon captured in the end, Lydia, Babylonia, and Egypt.

The leopard with wings represented the Greek Empire and the speed with which Alexander conquered the Persian Empire. The four heads represented his 4 generals that governed the empire after Alexander’s early death. The fourth beast with big iron teeth must describe the Roman Empire, paralleling with the iron legs of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Its brass claws, also seen on the waist and thighs in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, illustrate the Greco-Roman confluence of cultures.

Daniel’s dream continues with the focus on the 10 horns. One little horn came up, uprooting 3 of the horns on its way, and that little horn grew bigger until it towered over the other 7. In its final stage it developed a man’s face with a mouth speaking proudly and blasphemously.

This little horn made war against God’s people and presumed to change times and laws which are God’s right alone. This power acted like it was God, standing in the place of the Almighty. It would rule for 1,260 prophetic days which translates to 1,260 actual years. But in the end, the judgment would be set up, that evil power would be sentenced and destroyed, and the people of the saints would regain God’s kingdom. One quality emphasized in the monster was that it devoured all its enemies and whatever was left over it stomped into the ground. No such hatefulness, bitterness, or control by force would be seen in any preceding animal representing a world power in the dream. This rabid, devil-possessed beast needed to be killed and put out of its misery.

In Revelation 13, this same beast John sees. Some of the exact characteristics are seen in both: they both speak blasphemously, both control the world for 1,260 days, and both war against the saints.

But John sees 7 heads, which Daniel does not recount. Daniel sees 10 horns which John makes no note of. But we can see that the beast John sees is a conglomeration of the first 3 beasts Daniel sees. If we count the heads, we come up with 7 heads: the lion—one, the bear—one, the leopard—four, and the monster—one. Seven heads total, which ties the two visions together. And John sees one of the heads wounded to death. Which head was this? Rome’s?

When we examine Daniel’s dream, he sees a judgment on the fourth beast, whereas the first three are allowed to continue existing because there weren’t blaspheming God. This judgment foretells the same event as John’s beast receiving a deadly wound.

Interestingly, though, John sees another beast which Daniel never saw. It comes up, not out of the sea like all the others, but out of the earth. This beast seems peaceful enough, with 2 little lamb’s horns on its head.

The Protestant Reformers knew exactly what the 7 headed beast was. Rome, not just pagan Rome, but also the Holy Roman Papacy, which ruthlessly ruled Europe in their day. The Roman Heirarchy reigned from 538-1798, 1260 years. It began its empire when the last of the final 3 Germanic tribes attacking Rome were destroyed because they didn’t recognize the primacy of the pope. And it ended when the French nation forced Napoleon to bring the pope to justice for enslaving them with religion.

After the desolation of the Papacy by the Reformation and the Bible, this capture by Napoleon was the last straw; the Papacy finally went down. What world power was coming up and the same time as the Papacy fell in 1798? The United States of America.

America is the peaceful animal with 2 lamb’s horns. “The waters which thou sawest, …are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” (Rev. 17:15). Rather than come up from the tumultuous sea, meaning the crowded Old World of Europe and Asia, the final power would come up from the “earth,” i.e., in isolation in the New World.

But the story doesn’t end here. That innocent-appearing beast doesn’t live happily ever after. It roars like a dragon—the same dragon which gave the horrible first beast its persecuting power. That innocent-looking beast changes and does the same things that brutal first beast did. It also works miracles to deceive the people and convinces them to make an image of the first beast which came back to life after almost dying. Once they’ve made the image of the first beast, the second beast gives the image life and the ability to speak, and to force everyone to worship the image of the first beast or be killed.

What is all this saying?

Simply, that as hard as it may be to accept, the Lord is forewarning us that America will re-establish the persecuting atrocities of the Papal power, an organization that has already grown back to power due to the work of Pope John Paul II.

This is the reason for all the movements we see today in the chopping away of the wall separating church and state—that wall being purely a hated institution by the Church of Rome. The political jockeying by religious leaders in Protestant America is already fulfilling the prophecy of making an image of the Roman Papacy.

Soon, we will see the separation of church and state fall—the source of peace for the United States and for the world—because the prophecy says that wall will fall. And then “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book [of life].” (Dan. 12:1).

Dear friend, let us find a refuge in Jesus. Let us discover His power to reconcile us to Himself, to His Father, and to His Father’s Law. Let us find His love that overcomes our every deficiency of character. So that when He comes “in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” we may go home with Him. (Matt. 24:30).

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The real Christmas reason

“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.” (Rev. 12:5).

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1Tim. 2:5).

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Is. 9:6,7).

During the Christmas season, we pay reverence to the birth of Jesus. Yet, our homage to Him is pagan, indeed. Almost everyone today has been informed of the intrusion of paganism into a backslidden apostolic church, welcomed by half-hearted Christians almost 2,000 years ago. Christmas was just another example of this.

True, God sent His Son into the world to save sinners, to “save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21). But if Christmas is pagan with some truth mixed into it, why can’t we celebrate it in the right spirit and understanding and receive a blessing anyway?

Is it all right to give our children a cup of milk with just a tiny bit of poison in it? Would you put just the tiniest amount of Drano in your baby’s formula? No, you would very likely choose a bottle that has never had anything in it except food products, then sanitize it and the nipple ever so carefully, and keep the formula refrigerated until time of feeding so that no spoiling will take place. Zero tolerance is what you would allow in the feeding of your beloved child and your heart breaks when you see the conditions babies suffer in undeveloped countries.

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” (Matt. 7:11). Zero tolerance is God’s goal in leading us in the paths of righteousness. His standard never flags and loses its zeal. His standard remains high. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is. 55:9). “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48).

What makes Christmas so wrong is that it was borrowed from, and lands on the same day as, Saturnalia, a Roman festival of debauchery and licentiousness dating from the remotest antiquity. It stood for pure rebellion for God’s Law. Shem justly apprehended Nimrod for his open apostasy following Noah’s death, when he established a government in which immorality was the law of the land, wickedness which had destroyed the antediluvian world by the great flood.

Following Nimrod’s execution, his fellow rebels and his equally rebellious wife, Semiramis, revolted and determined to continue the evil practices of her deceased husband, weaving subtle symbology into tradition. Ostentatious and pleasing to the senses, these traditions permitted the general populace to continue the self-indulgent practices actively introduced by Nimrod, practices which had been borrowed from the other side of the flood by his grandfather Ham, the son of Noah, and encouraged and developed by his father Cush.

Heaven’s power of redemption and sanctification could have no effect on the human heart, caught up in that which pleases the carnal nature of fallen man. Thus, Satan maintained his iron grip on this world.

It was genius intellect and creativity inspired by the supernatural that forged the voluminous ways to represent and repeat the rebellion of Nimrod, and of Semiramis and their fellows. Of the many forms they used to encode license into every-day life was the period of human gestation.

Seeing a comparison between one-fourth of the annual cycle of the seasons and the time it takes for a baby to develop in the womb, they established a nine month period in the spring. This allowed for nature worship, for a celebration of an illegitimate son to Semiramis through her occultic sexual practice, and for chaining the citizens of the world to traditions that would invite them to participate in every kind of self-indulgence. Hence, the feast to Astarte, Easter, at the spring equinox; and at the end of the period was the feast to Tammuz (or Horus or Nimrod) at the winter solstice.

The grace of God that brings salvation was far removed from their souls. After all He had done to save the human race from extinction by flood, no gratitude dwelled in their thoughts. Empty of a relationship with their Creator Father, with a God-size hole in their hearts, they sought to fill that hole with sensuality and appetite and materialism. Thus, using the basest methods, Satan shook his fist at God through his human associates.

By yearly repetitions, enforced by social taboo, leadership in government would grow up in a corrupted environment and would train the citizenry in always retaining the roots of vice by accepting some error with truth, a little evil with good, forever hating the whole truth and a life of purity and obedience to a clean conscience.

The mother-child motif of Semiramis and Tammuz are seen around the world, in all the world religions far more ancient than young Christianity. And what is the attraction here? We don’t hear of occultic sexuality associated with it anymore. But is there still a snare left in it?

When the Bible speaks of the incarnation of the son of God, the cause of worship comes from what He did as a man, not as a child. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:5-8).

Certainly, our hearts go out in sympathy to Christ as a baby. He was cute and innocent. But how much grace and love did He have to offer as a newborn? How much forgiveness and overlooking of our faults could Christ do as a baby?

Since grace is such an unknown to the human heart distanced as it is from God, the world seeks a form of worship that it can identify with. They can appreciate beauty and cuteness. Therefore, the modern Christian worship of baby Jesus, not based on His magnanimity and condescension and forgiveness, is nothing more than nature worship. It goes no deeper than the atheistic love to hike the mountains, and does nothing in reclaiming the stubborn human heart from pride and self-sufficiency.

Another issue in this babiolatry is that as an infant, how much reproof could Jesus give? Of the Messiah it was written, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth: with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.” (Is. 11:2-5).

Rebuke is the last thing the unconverted heart wants to hear. With the power of Satan behind it, pride rages against reproof and correction. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7). As Paul described it, “I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” “The law worketh wrath: … where no law is, there is no transgression.” (Rom. 7:9;4:15).

Yet, in order to redeem man from his pit of sin, Jesus must present truth. His truth is always mixed with grace—ALWAYS!!! But, likewise, His grace is always mixed with truth! When we can be reconciled to this arrangement, we will become the best, kindest, most loving, wisest people alive. This is the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation!

The Christ-childolatry never provides salvation or an object of true worship, because we are never brought face to face with our sin and with the knowledge of God’s acceptance of us in our sinful condition. Christ-babiolatry subtly avoids all this, all the while appearing perfectly acceptable to God and His word. This is why the popes have always promoted Christmas. A fallen Church is ensnared in a counterfeit of satanic deception.

Let’s find the real Savior—the Savior from sin. (Matt. 1:21). Let Him lead us to the restrictive gate and narrow path which few ever find. (Matt. 7:14). Let us bring our guilt and defilement of our sin to the One who can accept our sorrow for hurting Him and our resolution to obey Him, and enclose us in His arms of grace and love.

“When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Gal. 4:4,5).

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Tis the season to unite church and state

Just as the pagan Roman Empire held back the papal power of apostate Christianity, so, too, our atheistic government is currently holding back the resurgence of the second papacy and the efforts of apostate Protestant evangelicals.

Today, billions around the world are remembering the birth of Christ. And while I am seeking Him to know Him better every day, there is another tandem issue of great proportions. Namely, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1Pet. 5:8).

What we see happening in the Christian world in this our day is nothing more than a repeat apostasy of 1,900 years ago. What did we see then and what do we see today?

When Paul was still writing to the Thessalonians (approx. 65 A.D.) he saw that the human embodiment of Satan through the Christian church was already beginning to coalesce. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [of Christ’s return] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition….The mystery of iniquity doth already work.” (2Thess. 2:3,7).

Peter also saw it happening. Writing about the same time as Paul’s letter, “There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.… But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children…. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption.”(2Pet. 2:1-19).

John, too, saw it and withstood its approach at his locale while he was alive. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1Jn. 4:1-3). “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1Jn. 2:18,19).

Each apostle gives an inside view of the character of the anti-Christian movements in that day. The apostasy had the face of Christianity, but was nothing more than the work of Satan. It was a replay of Christ’s warning, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7:15).

Jesus described the professed teachers of Israel. “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: … and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” (Matt. 23:2,6,7). And with no difference except in greater magnitude, the same proud spirit would later manifest itself within Christianity. “There [shall] come a falling away first, and that man of sin [shall] be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2Thess. 2:3,4).

So, how did this play out in the Christian church? Many historians will attest to the changes that took place within the church. If you so desire, you may read more here, http://www.doctrine.org/history/HPv1b1.htm#CHAPTER%203, http://books.google.com/books?id=42rf9-FKkEcC&printsec=titlepage#PPR1,M1 and also by searching websites concerning the rise of the Church of Rome and the Roman Papacy.

As an overview of that important development, the church had lost its spirituality. The Lord said to the early church, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” (Rev. 2:4). Apathy had set in to the apostolic movement because love for the Messiah had grown lukewarm. As early as the early 200’s A.D., only a few generations after the apostles, the intellectually brilliant Origen had supplanted the literal meaning of the New and Old Testaments for allegories. The general populace had become ignorant of Christ and the power of His word, and spiritual darkness settled onto the churches. The Law of God no longer convicted of sin. As its moral standards were broken down, pagan practices in worship and in the daily life became the norm.

In place of grace, persistence in prayer, and the spirit of self-sacrificing love as the power to move the world, like it had been with the apostolic church, now that spirituality was gone, the church resorted to the only other option for its spread over the whole earth. That other option was politics. If God no longer would work in their behalf, they would put their corrupt hand to the incorruptible work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit woos the heart to repentance and reform—a job impossible for sinful man to perform. We naturally will force the work of convincing the conscience of right and wrong because the human agent has no ability to manipulate the soul. If we try, we quickly grow impatient and offended. Thus when the church is desolate of the Spirit of God, it resorts to human measures—and eventually, persecution and Inquisitions.

Finally, a crowning act of the degraded church occurred in 313 AD. Constantine, working to unite the empire divided by Christians and pagans ideologies, legalized the Christian religion. This set the stage to later make Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. Once done, the world walked into the church without any obstruction, and with alarming rapidity.

By the end of this growth period culminating in 538, the new church, praised by one and all, transformed into a cancerous tumor. It spread over the nations as it grew more politically powerful until it swallowed up the empire.

That is what happened then. But how is this repeating today?

Ever since the mid-1800s the popular Protestant churches have been proclaiming a new freedom to disregard God’s Law. Grace and grace only, is all that God purportedly desires for the human race! His Law is abrogated! Due to this error, no voice of authority has convicted the consciences of Protestants for 150 years.

Only forgiveness is preached—a shallow theology and the sport of unbelievers. Even the atheistic skeptic can see the excuse for wrong-doing hidden in modern Christianity’s mantra of “grace and grace only.” But while Protestants spin their erroneous doctrines, their Bible declares, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Is. 8:20). It should come as no surprise to us that the flocks under Protestant care have lost faith in the Bible and in God and the church. The falsehoods of their theology primed them for the delusions of evolution and atheism and the rampant immorality that are realities in America today.

But who do the churches blame for this unwanted spiritual state of affairs? The government! They pin the responsibility on the world when they should have heeded the scripture to return to their God and to His Law. “Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” (Joel 2:17).

Consider a televised conversation between James Dobson, a widely heard radio host, and Larry King, an equally widely watched TV host:
KING: But we have a separation of church and state.
DOBSON: Beg your pardon?
KING: We have a separation of church and state.
DOBSON: Who says?
KING: You don't believe in separation of church and state?
DOBSON: Not the way you mean it. The separation of church and state is not in the Constitution. No, it's not. That is not in the Constitution.

Angry at the way government seems to make the church’s job more difficult, they conclude that their very own American Constitution must be changed in order to make evangelism easier. But until they can convince the American populace to break down the wall separating church and state, they use work-arounds.

They have already filled federal positions with young men and women sympathetic to their cause. All three branches of the federal government already have staged proponents for a government move away from the libertarian direction in which it is currently pointed. The highest court in the land has almost a majority of justices in this regard. Many legislators have felt the threat of losing the next election if they don’t listen to religious fundamentalists for change. Unwilling to sacrifice political careers by maintaining the standards of the Constitution, the politicians bend to the wishes of the religionists. Under continuous pressure by the powerful religious voting block, the Congressmen and Senators consider their religious complaints, with a little change today, more and more change tomorrow.

The issues making headlines today, i.e. abortion, homosexuality, religious displays in public places, etc. seem correct and moral and commendable. But they are all fronts to bring about a larger change. They are all simply leverage to vault the church into more power over the country and over the law-making entities that govern our states and our nation.

So the freedoms from religion are being flaunted by the atheistic sector of society. They know their rights according to the U.S. Constitution and feel perfectly safe in boldly throwing offence into the face of their hated religious fundamentalists. Burgeoning radio and television programming, daring websites and illicit movies belittle and accost the perceived narrow-mindedness of evangelical religion. Newspapers and periodicals freely throw to the four winds the trip-ups and foibles of preachers and churches.

Nevertheless, little does the atheistic community realize that they are only doing what the churches want them to do. They are giving the Religious Right fuel for their angry arguments. And as the two sides on the question of religion continue to face off, the larger atheistic community may overcome the pushing of the religious minority, but each clash will find the politically astute religious cartel growing stronger and stronger leaving its agnostic counterpart continually weaker.

Based on past performance of the early stages of Christianity, my prediction is that today’s evangelical corporate religion will finally overpower the anti-church fraternities. Leagued with law-makers, the political pull of the evangelical leaders will tilt the scales of popular voice in their favor. Then the politicians will switch their platforms to accommodate the new ecclesiastical regime, while the anti-religion factions they politically abandon.

By that time, the Protestants will have so imbibed the papal spirit of a united church-state that they will reach across and shake hands with the rejuvenated Catholic Papacy. The sentiments of James Dobson and James Kennedy concerning the wall between church and state sound almost popish. “The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty of conscience are a most pestilential error—a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a state.” Pope Pius IX, in his Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1854. 1854 may seem long ago and this statement may seem obsolete, but remember the church’s claim to infallibility. The “church never erred; nor will it, according to the Scriptures, ever err” (John L. von Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, book 3, century II, part 2, chapter 2, section 9, note 17). Pope Pius’s anathemas still represent the sentiments of Rome, as well as many Americans across the country.

Allying themselves with the Pope, the new Christian American government will invite his counsels and emissaries, who have ever detested the separation of church and state and the freedoms of the U.S. Constitution. Their one thought and goal is the desolation of the one peace-making document given to bless the world through America, the United States Constitution.

Speaking of “the Son of perdition,” the coming apostasy of Christianity in the apostle’s day, Paul warned, “Now you know what is holding him [papal Rome] back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one [pagan Rome] who now holds it [papal Rome] back will continue to do so till he [pagan Rome] is taken out of the way.” (2Thess. 2:6,7). Just as the pagan Roman Empire held back the papal power of apostate Christianity, so, too, our atheistic government is currently holding back the resurgence of the second papacy and the efforts of apostate Protestant evangelicals.

But Bible prophecy says our Constitution will fall, and once it does force and misery will exist everywhere. The Church of Rome will have regained the power it lost to the Protestant Reformation and the birth and prosperity of America. Once restored to power, she will jealously guard her primacy. Even Hitler Germany, with its mind control and atrocities, cannot compare to the force she will use to hold on to her regained status as world ruler. The Scripture affirms, “…there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” (Dan. 12:1). A mighty storm lays just ahead for us.

Prophetic statements on this subject, written in 1888, to follow.

God’s word has given warning of the impending danger; let this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape the snare. She is silently growing into power. Her doctrines are exerting their influence in legislative halls, in the churches, and in the hearts of men. She is piling up her lofty and massive structures in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions will be repeated. Stealthily and unsuspectedly, she is strengthening her forces to further her own ends when the time shall come for her to strike. All that she desires is vantage ground, and this is already being given her. We shall soon see and shall feel what the purpose of the Roman element is. Whoever shall believe and obey the word of God will thereby incur reproach and persecution. Great Controversy, p. 581.

The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet’s words: “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. Ibid., p. 592.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

An email to a sister

Hi G____,

I really enjoyed my time reading and talking with S____. There are a few people I know who I have said too much and overdid it, and now we aren’t friends anymore. It has made me nervous about saying too much and making more enemies. It would kill me if that happened to S____. “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24).

Yesterday at church I was able to talk to several people about the current events which are leading to a union of church and state. (Once again I hope I didn’t go too far.) But I am surprised that so few people are seeing the Beast power moving in like it is. It’s all coming together just like Jesus told us it would through Ellen White.

Yesterday morning, in his talk introducing the Christmas program, the pastor spoke about something he saw on “60 Minutes.” Gays in the military is becoming an issue, and evidently the complaint was that a lesbian pilot was getting all her training through the military and then being forced out because of her sexual orientation and getting a good job flying airplanes.

He went on to warn the congregation that society all over the world is becoming so corrupt and that we need to protect our children from the gay/lesbian community and from becoming gay or lesbian. My question is, Doesn’t this sound like the evangelical preachers who are working to make an issue bigger than reality for the sake of their religio-political agenda and attacking the Supreme Court for judgments that haven’t reined in immorality, all through which they are unknowingly working to set up the Image to the Beast? The bigger danger is really from the other direction than the atheists and unchurched, an understanding which only SDAs know about, yet which was never mentioned by the pastor. Our biggest danger will come from the Religious Right. So, I spoke up. It’s not right to interrupt a sermon or a sermonette, but I couldn’t leave those people ignorant of the huge movements now taking place.

If we were only 10% aware of what’s taking place around us, our churches would be waking up. Later, I talked with one person and told her that the Adventist churches are going to change. They are going to have to because there are many Adventists who have left the church, but who have been to our prophecy seminars or have read the Great Controversy and know how the end will work out. As these things continue to unfold before their eyes in the great movements in politics and with the Papacy, they are going to start coming back to church. They are going to start asking the people, “Why is nobody talking about these things?” They are going to stir things up and cause either revivals or riots. They are going to arouse the church to action or churches are going to shut them down and tell this small group of honest people to be quiet. “You’re disturbing the nice program we have going here!” Do you think a nice program is going to shut them up? I don’t think so, either.

Our only safety is to begin now, warning and educating the people about current events and about fulfilling prophecies. Our people are woefully caught up in the world and ignorant of God’s grace. Even me. A knowledge of God’s love and grace is the only remedy for the Mark of the Beast and the source of the Seal of God. As it is written, “Wisdom ...exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.” (Prov. 4:7-9). “Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom.” (1Cor. 1:30). There is no better description of the Seal of God in the forehead than Jesus in all of our thoughts.

“O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Thy precepts.” (Ps. 119:97-100). His offer of friendship and reconciliation and communion is our only protection from the Image of the Beast which we see now taking shape.

We need to learn of Him, His grace and His righteousness. His gracious treatment of sinners will help us not be afraid of righteousness. His righteousness will help us not walk all over His grace. They both work together for our redemption. The other denominations which have joined together against God’s law cannot know the fullness of His grace. All that their denominations claim to have in grace is imaginary and false, with exception of a small remnant of true seekers after God. “Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at His word; your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” (Is. 66:5). Even though they celebrate Jesus and proclaim, “Let the Lord be glorified!” He will sadly but pointedly tell them, “I never knew you.” Instead of celebrating Him, He desires us to tremble at His words. Its only pride that refuses to tremble, and boldly substitutes celebration in place of trembling. It’s the same condition in Cain when he sacrificed to God what Satan inspired him to give. Its pride that says it’s wrong to fear God and tremble at His word. It is humility leading to true gratitude that does what He says and then finds the true privileges that come with obedience.

Our God knows just what formula we need for real happiness, and He spells it all out for us to follow. He is so good to us and Jesus is so faithful.

See you soon, sister.
Your brother,
David

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thou shalt hate lust

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matt. 5:27-32).

Jesus is making good on His promise to not destroy the law or the prophets. (Matt. 5:17,18). Yet this was the very accusation of the Jews. Howbeit, this attitude toward Christ was motivated by the daily conviction of sin because of His spotless character and the purity and constancy of His love for friends and enemies. Isn’t it interesting how the deceitful human heart can convince itself that its motives are pure while its own character, in reality, is described by the supposed wickedness it sees in its enemies. All this convolution goes on subconsciously, unrecognized by the sinful rebellious mind, all in the effort to never be corrected or ashamed. How sin blinds! How deluded we are without a continual surrender to the Law and grace of Christ! “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).

So Jesus, never to modify the Law of His Father, raises it from its primitive Mosaic structure of the days following Egyptian slavery, and from the muck surrounding it from the Babylonian captivity. The nature of the law He was enunciating was very different from the one in common use of His day. Through many centuries since Babylon, slowly at first but accelerating, the theologians had given their interpretations of the Law, and then other rabbis gave their interpretations of the earlier interpretations; and this went on again and again, compounding the misinterpretations of each rabbi and transforming the Law of God into the laws of men.

As the world continued its moral decline through the influence of a long sequence of pagan empires, the rabbinical writings followed the tendency of the world to excuse sin and make the principles of the law to none effect by these extra-scriptural writings. The original scriptures, having the convicting voice of God, were set aside and the precursor scripts of the Talmud were preferred and read instead.

By the time of the incarnation of the Son of God, Israel had fallen far away from its original covenant with the God of Abraham, Moses, David, and Ezra. The laws of man had supplanted the Law of God. The petty desires of men had become the weak voice of authority, the easy standard to be reached, and the source of much emptiness and apathy. Into this confusing state Jesus came to overturn the false system of worship and morality.

Now with peals of Sinai thunder to the conscience, He sweeps back the mountains of error in one stroke. His teachings came with freshness and a power that spoke to the needs of an audience wakening to hope and life. Already He had healed them and their beloved sick. He had showed Himself to be their trusted friend, thus their will was enlisted. Now their ears were being opened to hear a new message of truth—the true character of their Father in heaven.

Jesus could speak the principles of righteousness with a simple language which gave it force. He exposed lust and then told them as Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar, “Break off thy sins by righteousness.” (Dan. 4:27). Comparing the work of overcoming sin with major surgery, our Lord bade the people to cut off their sins even if it felt like cutting off their hand or arm or extracting an eye from its socket. As Daniel determined in his heart not to eat the intoxicating food and wine of the king, so should we make stern resolutions not to sin and to steer clear of temptation. For it is better to go through the pain of mortifying the flesh than “that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” Christ’s words were not mean or grotesque words, but He chose them for an emphasis equalling the importance of the work of perfection.

Christ has given us no assurance that to attain perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-round character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticize ourselves closely, and allow not one unfavorable trait to remain uncorrected. Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 331.

Jesus could talk this vigorous language because He thought this way about His own efforts to grow in grace. “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness.” (Ps. 45:7). “God sending His own Son … for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” (Rom. 8:3). “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2).

God, our Father in heaven, is unapproachable because of our sinful state. But He has not left us orphans; He will bring home His banished. He has given us The Son, the Creator of everything and our personal Redeemer, heaven’s Commander and yet the Elder Brother of our race. Christ is approachable. He promises to never leave us nor abandon us. He oversees our every advance upward to His kingdom and each retrograde back to the dark world below. If we ever sorrow for sin and turn away from it, it is because of the mediatorial work of Jesus our High Priest and our righteousness.

Let us tremble at the Law and the high principles of righteousness, but not fail to trust in Him and to cling to His hand; for He has covenanted with us and will perform all His oaths. He promises, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” (Is. 66:2;41:13,14).

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17).

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thou shalt not hate

“Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” (Matt. 5:21-26).

These statements all go together. They all speak to undue anger and bitterness. When the soul has lost its connection with the God of gracious love, bitterness inevitably fills the void. We were meant to hold sweet communion with the Spirit of God, our Comforter. Our original design was for fellowship with the Divine One. God made man noble and upright, not only in stature but in intellect and morality and love. We were to be plugged into God, a piece of the puzzle being made for us and for us only.

Satan’s one effort is to disconnect us from our source of grace and love. In that one move, he has instantly disoriented our bearings, degraded our strength, and made us perfectly vulnerable to his insinuations and influence. Our only hope is being reconnected to our Creator and Friend. As it is written, “The turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” (Prov. 1:32-33).

In the first text, Christ addresses the common perception that outward action was all that counted for real morality. Yet our real problem begins in the heart—our intents and desires and thoughts. In so doing, He distinguishes true morality from Pharisaical morality, which really is immorality. Thus, according to real spirituality, to hate and be angry without love is to murder; to seek to demean and destroy emotionally by criticizing, backbiting, and name-calling is all worthy of damnation.

It is, therefore, imperative to make things right and stay right with your brother or sister, not simply outwardly with a paste-on grin, but truly reconciled, truly loving. And if our salt has lost its savor and is causing strife, we need to get rid of it and go to Christ for some new salt, that is, more of His grace and love, that by beholding Him we may become changed into the same image. “Salt is good…. Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” (Mk. 9:50).

We have no reason to think that the Christian must be an irritant to everyone he meets. This is clearly non-Biblical. “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him.” The grace of Christ in the heart will make us pleasant with those with whom we come in contact, looking and praying that they express a need for deeper things, that we may have an opportunity to share with them the comforting goodness of God, and also to exchange grace and kindness with those who hate us and make themselves our enemy.

Quite possibly, in Roman days it didn’t take much to spark retaliation or persecution. In our country and in much of our world, tolerance gives us much more freedom and gracious treatment than existed 2,000 years ago, and even 200 years ago. But all of that may come to an end soon. As the wall of separation of church and state continues to be worn away (in the name of religious liberty) religious intolerance and every other kind of intolerance will once again surface and be nurtured along by religious bigots and extremists, by Protestant and Catholic alike. Then we will know the exact conditions that Jesus spoke of in the above verses, when your “adversary deliver[s] thee to the judge, and the judge deliver[s] thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.”

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom. 12:18). “He must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (1Tim. 3:7). Just as also the youthful Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Lk. 2:52).

The Lord gave a beautiful example of this later in His ministry. Priestly enemies tried to use Peter to trap his Master. But so as not to stir up unnecessary discord and prejudice among the priests and Levites toward Himself by openly disregarding their accusation, Jesus told Peter, “Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for Me and thee.” (Matt. 17:27). It was a polite gesture to His adversaries and a gentle correction to His befooled and humbled, yet beloved disciple.

We can, with certainty, say that God so loves the whole world.

Friday, December 14, 2007

My story with God, Part Five

That was February 1995. Two weeks later I was sitting in an Adventist church. Greatly relieved were my praying parents. The Lord told me to buy a new Bible because the old one was so marked up and I needed to begin looking at it again from a whole new perspective. All the highlighted verses would have steered me away from many other important verses. It would have limited me to my faulty understanding of teenage years. To this day, my new Bible is still unmarked, and I am able to remember special verses anyway. And I am able to better understand the Bible as a whole document, instead of just the 27 fundamental beliefs of the SDA church.

After returning to God I still found myself unsatisfied. I struggled to stay near Him. I could listen to a wonder-filled sermon which strengthened my faith, yet after crossing the parking lot and getting into my car, as soon as I shut the door, POOF! The mountaintop experience was over and would take many weeks to return.

I began writing out my frustrations in a notebook. Much of it was derogatory toward “church people.” It wasn’t right to feel that way toward them, but I was ignorantly blaming them for my lack of God’s grace. But God was patient with me and slowly revealed His grace to me. Now I can understand why “church people” act like they do. They don’t have the grace of God either and its driving them crazy.

One day in the middle of my frustration, the words came to me, “the love of God.” With them came the realization that I had professed to know it, but really didn’t believe in it. Also came the invitation to search it out in the Bible, for surely it was revealed there. I eagerly began my search.

It dawned on me that my true conception of Jesus was someone who was obnoxious, proud, self-confident, full of reproofs and domineering over His disciples. I only knew of two instances when He seemed nice, Matthew 11, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And John 6, “Them that come unto me I shall in no wise cast out.” I subconsciously allowed the other verses to turn Him into a monster. That monster was controlling my whole mind.

As I then looked again at His rebuke toward the unbelieving, belligerent multitude in John 6 which made it too hard for them to accept, I realized that He had spoken in a love given through authority. He did for them just what they needed most. Anything softer would have sealed them in unbelief. As it was, there was still a possibility that some would return later.

Now I saw divine love where before all I had ever seen was divine hate, albeit subconsciously. Now the whole Old Testament with a God, who had sounded as cold and uncaring as the Allah of the Qu’ran, opened up to me as a God who loved those destructive and daring sinners of Israel. How long He dealt with them before finally sending desolation! 700 years! 800 years! And even after the destruction, He continued to work and plead with them until there were no more prophets through whom He could speak.

And finally, when the time came, He would speak directly from His own mouth. “Blessed…” “Blessed…” “Blessed…” “Come unto Me.” “I will in no wise cast out.” “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Pinning His Son’s arms back as wide open as they could go, the Father was in Christ reconciling the whole world unto Himself. (2Cor. 5:19)

EPILOGUE

My walk with God has been an evolution, one phase at a time. Even after returning to the remnant church, I’ve been drawing closer to Jesus in phases. My prayer is that I not turn away, after all He has done to bring me to Himself.

Other things have happened to me, but I’ve said enough. I hope this has encouraged your faith. The Lord is real. His providences are at work for all who will respond, even if the response is undetectable to the human. If a person is responding, God keeps working on him. God knows us much better than we know ourselves. And He so loves the whole world.

My story with God, Part Four

My wife Zeny, didn’t want the church. All she wanted was me, and I was perfectly fine with that. The day we married was the last day of seeing my Christian friends and church pseudo-family. Now that I was secure in my new wife’s love, I could bravely put behind me an extremely heavy burden laid on me by God.

That next Sabbath would be my first Sabbath I had ever worked on a job. We were cleaning off a foundation in preparation to build a house. I was feeling very uneasy and guilty about working on the Sabbath, but I reassured myself that this was the beginning of a happy new life without God and the church. I just happened to be cleaning the foundation right next to the street, while the rest of the carpenter crew was further away from the street.

A pickup truck pulled up right in front of me and the driver lowered his window. He yelled out for everyone to hear, and I really heard it since I was directly in front of him. He hollered, “Hey everybody, guess where I should be this morning?!” “In church!” Nobody cared about what he had said, but I was waiting for lightning to come down and strike me dead! I felt a little dizzy and hot. God was still following me!!!

But living with Zeny, I could forget about God and His following me, and life was good—at least for a couple of years. Then Zeny convinced me to join the Navy since being a carpenter didn’t pay much 4-5 months of the year. So I went into the Navy. Immediately I realized that separation from the family I loved was going to be a big part of military life. My son was one year old when I joined, and he didn’t understand why I immediately left for 6 months, came home for 2 weeks at Christmas and then left again for 3 more months. That was very difficult for me.

I began to see that joining the Navy meant long hard hours of work away at sea, little pay, and worst of all, I lived with people who hated me, and I spent very little time with the only people I really loved. I didn’t get to see my daughter born because I was at sea. She was 3 months old when I saw her for the first time. For the next 8 years this torture went on. I kept re-enlisting for Zeny’s sake, but I hated to do so because of the children.

One long patrol at sea, I decided to stop studying the Navy material and read a novel. I went to the small ship’s library and picked out a little book, one of a thousand other similar short novels. “Voyage to the 1st of December” was it’s title. Why I picked a book about going to sea is still beyond me when I was so sick of going to sea and being separated from my family!

I found the book to be very engaging. It was based on a true account from a ship’s doctor in 1842. In the middle of the story the ship pulled into Philadelphia and the doctor got off the ship to go to a bar. An acquaintance of his talked him into going to another part of town. They ran in the pitch black, trompsing through muddy streets of old Philadelphia, dodging muggers, and ended up in an establishment run by Millerites. The year was 1842 and the workers there were waiting for Jesus to return in glory and take them to heaven. They had signs hanging on the walls and they played hymns on the piano concerning Christ’s soon coming, and even witnessed for Him to the waiting customers.

The book really took me by surprise. I had known about the Millerite movement that gave birth to Adventism. I was well versed in the story of William Miller and I was probably the only person onboard the submarine who had ever heard of the Baptist preacher so familiar to SDAs. It reminded me of better days in my past, as well as confirming in me that the Millerite movement had really taken place. I was seeing it from a completely different source than Ellen G. White. The expectation for Jesus to return wasn’t just an Adventist fable. It had really happened, as the doctor logged a snapshot of it in his diary. I would never have been reminded of it if someone had handed it to me through Adventist literature, because I would have politely turned it down. So God used an outside, very unsuspecting source.

That day I fought it, but was forced to ponder, that God could prove Himself to me while I was so long gone from His church, and being a sailor in a submarine hidden out in a great big ocean, under a lot of water between me and the sky. I was realizing that its true, you can’t hide from God. He always knows where you live.

But my marriage was failing. Zeny didn’t love me anymore. When I finally got some shore duty and would finally be home every night, she refused to move to the new location. Now, when I could be with the family I loved, I still would have to move away completely from them and spend the next 3 years alone, except for weekend visits each month. Meanwhile my children would continue to grow up without their father, and I would remain away from my little children, ages 10 and 7, who I loved so much—an overwhelming ordeal.

I made the move 12 hours from my family. At first I lived with another fellow who had his ex-wife’s female cousin visit him all night, every night. After five months of that, I had to leave there. I lived in the back of my pickup truck for a month during the cold Connecticut winter, because we didn’t have enough money for me to rent an apartment. Then I found someone who would let me live in his house if I helped him do carpentry.

One morning as I drove to work, out of nowhere a word popped into my thoughts. It was “Redemption.” I hadn’t remembered that word for 13 years, but as I thought on it, it seemed so wholesome and welcoming. It was again impressed upon me a second time or it was my own repeating of it in my mind. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit was working.

Eventually, the fellow who shared his house with me met a woman and he moved in with her. Now I was alone in a house which was falling apart, no one to talk to except during the day at work with other sailors. Finally, the Lord had me where He wanted me. One more move and He would checkmate me. Not long afterwards, one cold night my car flipped over because of ice on the road. For 3 days I didn’t even have a car to get out and drive around to forget my problems.

I had no one, no love, no close friends. But what I had was a problem that really began to eat at me. Finally, at the end of my rope, I was forced to go to God for help. I knelt and prayed to Someone up there. I prayed like I had never prayed before, and He heard me. Like a snap, my problem immediately disappeared and a hunger for my early life with God took its place. Now I thought to myself, “I want to read the Bible, so badly.” Just then a thought broke into my mind, “It’s right behind you.” I turned around and there, directly behind me on a bookcase, was my old Bible from long forgotten church days. I had always taken with me wherever I moved, maybe one day to open it again, which I never did.

I opened that Book and found it all to be so good and refreshing, and so wholesome.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My story with God, Part Three

Finally the senior year finished and I agreed to sell Adventist literature that summer in preparation for college. I had wanted to be a pastor and was going to be a Theology student. That summer was the hottest summer in my life!! I didn’t sell a single book! I preferred to give away the books. I’m just not a salesperson. If it weren’t for some help from the district leader I wouldn’t have had a penny for college. Somehow I had $1,000 and it was enough for one semester at Columbia Union College.

During my one semester there and learned three important lessons; One, that I couldn’t be a pastor. I had completely lost interest in it. But I did learn two good things before leaving.

While visiting a nursing home back at the academy, I had realized the need for a musical instrument to accompany our songs as we walked from room to room. The thought of a guitar came to mind. Oh, how I would love to be able to play the guitar! Now at college, my roommate had a guitar and taught me how to play it.

The third thing I learned at CUC was Righteousness by Faith. Richard had mentioned the name Morris Venden several times while he taught us. But I never understood how RBF worked by experience. Now, as the Lord would have it, Elder Venden came to our college for a Week of Prayer that fall! Oh, oh, oh, how beautiful I saw Righteousness By Faith to be!!!! Jesus was presented at the center of it all, by a man who obviously was experiencing Jesus. It wasn’t a theory, it was reality. In living color, the love of Jesus came poring out of that preacher, who was so comfortable speaking to young people about love and faith.

At the end of each sermon that week, I stayed in the sanctuary for as long as I dared so as to not be late for my next class. I sat being drenched by the love of God, hoping that everything we had heard about Jesus would stay in my memory so that I could live off of it until the next sermon. The stress of living without Jesus had been grinding on me as it had for the past couple of years since Richard had left. But in the light of the glory of Jesus’ love and mercy, all stress was gone. Each morning we heard more of the amazing love of Jesus and of His friendly arms nailed to a cross, inviting the whole world, “Come unto Me.”

All too soon that week of prayer was finished and the normal life of this world resumed with a vengeance. Except for Righteousness by Faith, nothing else was useful to me from that semester, especially the psychotic math. After that semester I went home to stay. My friend, Greg, who convinced me to go to the academy, asked me if I wanted to take his job as a laborer in construction since he was going to work with framing carpenters. I took him up on it. After a year, he asked me if I wanted to work with the carpenters and I joined the carpenters.

For the next 4 years I built houses. It was a real trial of my faith to work with men who were completely detached from God. I was their constant joke, except for being a dependable worker. They loved me with all that was possible from a worldly heart, and I appreciated it but longed for more than that. (Later, the boss was converted and still maintains his faith.)

But this was such a trial because I still had a God-sized hole in my heart. The week of prayer was in the distant past, but one Sabbath I visited a man who lived in a house behind the church. After seeing how sad I looked, he offered me some tapes. It was a series by Morris Venden! The Lord was watching out for me. The series was the comparison between the Exodus and the Advent movements—and full of the love of Jesus!!!

But after listening to them many times, I had to give the tapes back. Then the memories began to fade again and the darkness fell in on me again.

Going to church, not because Jesus was there, but only the people, was too much for me to take. I couldn’t do it anymore. There was no love there. Just religion. Horrific, suffocating, dead religion. It was enough to make Jesus vomit, I’m sure—You know, “I will spew thee out of My mouth...” I wanted to leave, but how? I had made such a great profession of faith. The church was all I had ever known. And I knew that outside of it was damnation, with an ecumenical movement uniting Protestantism back to Rome, a Charismatic movement sending Protestants into spiritualism, a scary shaking time in the church, and a great time of trouble. I knew too much to leave, but I hated it all very much. I couldn’t just walk away and not live in misery and fear for the rest of my life.

So the Lord sent me my wife-to-be. She loved me and I loved her. She wasn’t an Adventist, but had visited our church. I felt that if she became part of the church, then church-going would be bearable. If she didn’t want to be part of the church, I would leave it. At least now I could love and be loved. All I wanted was love, and this the church did not provide. And God, for His part, was silent to my plight.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Story with God, Part Two

That youth group was such an amazing thing. We had someone from another church come to ask us how we got the youth to study the Bible and pray and sing, because they couldn’t manage to get their youth together unless basketball was the main event. All I can say is that the Lord did it. He had prepared me and Richard, the youth leader, and everybody else who became a part of it.

But good things sometimes come to an end. Richard went back to college in Tennessee and left the youth group in my charge. I didn’t have the charisma and relationship with God that he had. I quickly found out that I knew Richard, but I didn’t know God. Now, I understand all this was the Lord’s doing. He had to bring me one step at a time to faith in Him or I would get dizzy and fall completely into atheism with the rest of my brothers and sisters.

Since I didn’t know God, I saw the young people, my only earthly friends, leave the group one at a time. They began saying they had other engagements and couldn’t come to meetings, even Sabbath afternoons. This wrenched my heart, but I couldn’t blame them. I knew I wasn’t nearly as good a leader as Richard had been. Finally, one Sabbath afternoon in an empty church, I went into the church’s storage closet to pour out my broken heart.

I begged God to make me into the right kind of youth leader that would keep His children in the church and joyful in following Him. I prayed until it seemed my dry eyes were going to pop out of my head. But although I locked up the empty church that day just as distressed as ever, God heard my plea.

He didn’t answer me just as I asked Him to. To this day, I have yet to get that leadership style I loved so much in Richard. But not long after praying that prayer, a friend from the youth group told me he was going to the Adventist academy about one hundred miles away and maybe I could go to. I had never thought of it. The church agreed to pay for 1/3, the conference would pay 1/3 and I would work 1/3; and I was on my way to spend my senior year at Shenandoah Valley Academy. This allowed me to escape the eyes of everyone who knew how I had destroyed and dismantled the youth group—not reality, but that is how I perceived it. Getting away to the academy also gave me time alone, especially on Friday nights when I could just read my Bible and let the world around me disappear. This brought such peace to my mind.

At the academy, the classes were good and the students were friendly. But they hadn’t had the same training I had had under Richard. He had taught us the high standard of the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible. The other students, while they were cleaner than the kids at my public high school, they were pretty worldly by the Bible standard. This was a disappointment, but I found some spiritual kids anyway. Even still, many of the students there thought I was fanatical and kept their distance. The previous year, I had carried my Bible around in my high school and tried to be a witness for Jesus. So being thought of as insane by the academy students wasn’t new and didn’t bother me too much. Beside, how could I be any different after God had put me through what He had?

Monday, December 10, 2007

My story with God, Part One

Due to my birthday last week, I want to glorify God for all that He has done for me during these past 49 years. As it is written, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” (Ps. 50:15).


When I was 12 years old the Lord gave me a dream of His second coming. It was more like a nightmare. I saw bright light and blazing hail fall from the sky. It was so scary to me that I woke up and went downstairs to see my parents. They told me not to worry about it, since it was just a dream. But I think the Lord was keeping me on track so I would not fall away from Him. Sometimes He must do things that don’t make us feel good in order to save us in the end.

When I was 15, I was in our kitchen, watching the Dick Van Dyke Show. It was a funny show and I was enjoying it when suddenly a horrible feeling of anxiety came over me. It was so bad I turned off my favorite show and went outside, hoping for some excitement to get my mind off the suffocating depression. But outside there was nothing to help. For the next year I looked for school activities or sports or friends to help me feel better, but nothing helped. Somehow, I eventually concluded that Christians had the answer to my dilemma. The Lord was in all of this.

Although I was going to church with my Dad, I found that all we had in church was church-goers, you know, religious people, but not Christians. At least not Christians according to the criteria that came to my mind in my search for mental relief. Finally after about a year of not finding the kind of Christian that could show me how to have peace, I told my Dad I wasn’t going to church anymore. He talked me into going, but I wasn’t happy about it. The next Sabbath I told him again I wasn’t going to church with him, and he talked me into it again. Now I was really mad—especially at myself for not having the guts to stand for what I wanted.

That very Sabbath a young man came to our little church who fit exactly the criteria I had been led to find. He loved God, he loved his Bible, he loved to sing and pray, he loved the Spirit of Prophecy and the health message and everything EGW counseled. He loved people with a new kind of love I had never seen before, and he loved me. He was everything I had been looking for and more! And for a year God had prepared me to meet him. I became his right hand man, and he became my mentor.

That autumn, while going door to door, my Dad met another young man, Brian. And soon my new friend, Richard, was giving him Bible studies. Brian had friends and soon they were studying the Bible with Richard, too. Suddenly we had a youth group based on the Bible, prayer, the hymns, fellowship, good dress and appearance, and on and on. We met 2-3 times each week, the Sabbath being a whole day of joy! I had a friend like I had never known! It was a spontaneous revival in our church like I had never seen and haven’t seen in any church since.

That experience has never been forgotten by me and by the others who have stood on the platform of truth. It reminds me of Ellen White’s warm memories of the great preaching by William Miller.

“Of all the great religious movements since the days of the apostles, none have been more free from human imperfection and the wiles of Satan than was that of the autumn of 1844. Even now, after the lapse of many years, all who shared in that movement and who have stood firm upon the platform of truth still feel the holy influence of that blessed work and bear witness that it was of God.” Great Controversy, p. 401.