Preface…Debunking Anti-Christ Rhetoric

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It’s everywhere…growing and flourishing in the very landscape of a growing post Christian Americana. If I am haphazardly becoming victim to its sinister message, surely others are too.  And what about our children?  It is upsetting, disheartening, it is filled with pure evil and ill intent.  I have wrestled with this for many months.  Should I attempt to debunk this anti-Christ rhetoric that seems to be prospering everywhere?  I am not a theologian or scholar.  So where are they?…  The modern day theologians, scholars, and apologists?… The great astute and intellectual minds who can easily give explanation to this new and growing mystery? Or can they?  Perhaps their silence on this subject should be of great concern. It is certainly difficult to view. What is really fueling this growing hatred of Christ? 

 

Coupled with the rise of anti-Christ rhetoric is the ever growing effort to shame, belittle, and label those for what they believe.  And for who they believe in! They silence their voices by bullying them into submission of their own disbelief.  There are now no debates in this new secular world of no truth. Absolutely no agreeing to disagree.  They demand tolerance yet have none..  The faithful have become the new minority…but without protective provisions afforded everyone else.  These millions of the majority have succumbed to their tactics….  They degrade them, they deface them…one by one. They slowly silence their beliefs….. Quite easily bullied into submission it appears….frightened and terrified of reprisal.

 

 

The ranks of martyrs are growing….in the East…and in the West, it is only a matter of time.  The quiet and discreet mention of genocide and then heard of no more.  The real and brutal enemies of religious freedom constantly planning calculated attacks and growing larger in number…Their weaponry of force are the written words of a deranged one who slaughtered many others.. And even some faithful fall victim to this incredible deceit.  And Americana is busy and distracted opening old wounds!  Fighting old wars of past generations.  Demanding payment… seeking lawlessness and disorder Casting away moral values and absolute truth. They make heroes out of villains…Their young so easily offended by mere words…Their old are withdrawn and discouraged by the new.  A perfect storm for the enemy to invade. A nation already in turmoil… a lost and struggling generation fighting from within…..

 

There seems to be a perfect storm brewing on the horizon…

 

On this diminishing Western Americana…..

Death Grip

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“Jesus wept.”

(John 11:35 ESV)

There is probably nothing more tearfully heart wrenching than losing a loved one.  The grief endured when someone you love dies is excruciating and debilitating. You seem to exist in a surreal world temporarily suspended in time and space and hopeless to the stark reality you’re trying so desperately to avoid….your loved one is never coming back….

Not here….

Not now….

Not back here…

Not ever…

One distant memory of a most unfortunate death happened many, many years ago when I was still a young and inexperienced nurse working the midnight shift at a local hospital.  I stood quite fearful and reluctantly, beside an open incubator one cold and wintery night and gently caressed the very frail arm of a 14 ounce baby born way too soon…trying desperately to provide some sort of comfort to this beautifully perfect baby whose earthly life would ultimately be measured in mere hours….

The grief stricken mother was just outside our unit door and down the pastel pink and blue wall-papered hallway.  Her life so completely different just hours before.…But now, two earthly lives forever altered in a matter of minutes…of one soon to be taken and of one left behind… unbearable grief and excruciating sorrow…of dreams shattered and plans thwarted. This tragic loss so severe for it’s victim…it rendered her emotionally unable to speak a “temporary” goodbye…

Death

 So final is your grip…..

There was an unexpected death in the town of Bethany.  As this unfortunate news spread quickly, mourners came and gathered close to the grieving family.  Many who gathered there were visibly sobbing for this man who once was.  The sisters had sent word to the only One who could save him from his acute onset, but death had visited him quickly and he lay entombed for four days prior to His arrival. As The One approached, one sister fell to His feet in anguish and sorrow…the mourners also followed her there… standing behind and beside her as she mourned loudly at the Feet of our God…but all expressing the sorrow and grief that only death can bring….

When He looked upon the grief and anguish of the one sister who lay at His feet, and of those who believed, and of all those who would eventually believe, and also for those who would remain lost, He was deeply moved and greatly troubled…..as He filled with love and compassion for all who gathered there to openly grieve ….

And He gently began to weep….

Tears…slowing and quietly streaming from the Sovereign eyes of the only One who can bring us back to life….a deeply human expression from this Man of Sorrows…who is well acquainted with grief… who came to serve…who came to save….grief and sorrow He experienced as He mourned for a dying humanity…..and motivated by pure unconditional love for us….He willingly came and stepped into this darkness just to taste this bitter vial of death for one and all…..

Grief stricken tears actually touched the Almighty face of our God…

Death

Where is your grip now?

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“Often we say That Christ will meet us on the other side.  That is true of course, but misleading.  Let us never forget that He walks with us on this side of the curtain and then guides us through the opening.  We will meet Him there, because we have met Him here.”

–Erwin Lutzer

 

 

Broken Promise

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

(Romans 1:16 ESV)

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“In conversation, the disciple who is truly poor in spirit always leaves the other person feeling, my life has been enriched by talking with you.  This is neither false modesty nor phony humility… The poor in spirit are the most non-judgmental of peoples; they get along well with sinners.”

–Brennan Manning

The above quote from Brennan Manning was the initial spark which lit the flame of my now persistent and burning desire to serve Christ and become His evangelistic servant bathed in His everlasting mercy and grace.  It would be untrue to lead anyone to believe this did not come without great struggle and outright debate with my Savior by trying to rationalize every reason in my finite mind to explain to Him why I am not the best and most qualified candidate for this sacred position but the flame persists and He fuels my flame with daily doses of increasingly greater intention.

Servant Evangelism, in my personal opinion is the only effective way to evangelize the lost and hurting among us.  It was refreshing to learn there has been a shift from the fire and brimstone type of evangelizing to a new relational, authentic, and transparent approach.  I desire to serve Christ as an authentic and transparent servant as I begin to embrace the brokenness of my own shattered past.  For it was in my broken past where I learned to become dependent on Him and His words of promise for a brighter tomorrow.  My great dependency on Christ grew more intense from the struggles and challenges of my own personal life and now I am willing to share my past to brighten someone’s tomorrow with hope in a Savior and eternal life. 

“Jesus was transparent. True, He did not have any bad to reveal, but He grieved, and expressed it; He sorrowed, and He wept.”

–Jerry Pipes

My only desire is to simply be His transparent servant.  In spite of our weaknesses and imperfections, God still chooses to use people to communicate His message.   The knowledge of my past weakness and imperfections forces me to be a humble and non-judgmental servant to others. It allows me greater understanding into the lives of people who struggle with sin and despair. I have no Christian subculture to temporarily exit from for I have never known the boundaries of “perfect” Christian living void of challenges, hardships, and struggle.  Perhaps this is the very reason He is calling me to join Him in His mission, His prodigal with enduring wounds and intense regret.  I only have to recall the price He paid to reconcile my rebellion and I’m left kneeling at the foot of His cross begging for His mercy.   There is no greater reward this side of heaven then to join with Christ in sharing the gift He gives so freely to those who only have to receive.  How can I possibly keep this gift a secret? 

I will still wrestle with Christ regarding the requirements of this sacred position.  The responsibility of representing Him to a fallen world is significant and causes me to panic.  My greatest fear is misrepresenting His love and grace.  How could I possibly take on this type of responsibility?  The testimony we have around other people is of utmost importance.  People are watching how we react in the normal ebb and flow of life.   And I love Him so much and only desire to please Him so how can I continue to say no to a Savior who gave His life to allow an unworthy, unlovable, and unclean soul like me to have one?   There is a world just outside my door that is hurting and lost and I know without doubt Jesus loves them as much as He loves me.

 “It is not the prostitutes and tax-collectors who find it most difficult to repent; it is the devout who feel they have no need to repent, secure in not having broken rules on the Sabbath.”

–Brennan Manning 

How can I remain silent and not share with them the good news?   …What began simply as a spark and turned into a flame, which has now become a persistent and burning desire is beginning to slowly engulf my panic and fears…. 

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It has been well over a year since my promise was made to You…and yes!  I now feel and now realize Your strict discipline to my broken promise….

Jesus…Please help me believe I can do this!

“Fear not, for I am with you; for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 (Isa 41: 10 ESV)

Chasing Rainbows

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“ I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”

( Genesis 9 : 13 NIV )

I was struggling with a lot of frustration.  It has been growing secretly for some time…festering slowly and manipulating my daily thoughts and emotions for many weeks, perhaps months or more .  My discouragement was beginning to hold me hostage…demanding a ransom…or at the very least, demanding a response…..Instead of responding,  I took quiet comfort in convincing myself I was not alone. There must be more like me hiding somewhere in the secret and safe places of humanity…. Wondering in silent amazement and continually asking themselves…just as I am,   “what is happening to society?”  “What is happening to the morals and values we once held so dear?”….But I was currently feeling completely defeated by the impending bleak outcome of this sudden downward shift….for it has plummeted so very far.  

 

As a child of divorce I understand firsthand the breakdown of a marriage and how it shatters a once intact nuclear family forever…A jilted ex- spouse left picking up the bitter pieces of betrayal and heartache….The innocent children left dealing with issues of abandonment and rejection…The starving daughter void of a fathers’ unconditional love and the ensuing and stagnant poverty of only a mothers wage.  The statistics are grim….even years ago….although I did not choose to be a statistic, I simply was for there is no denying the long lasting negative impacts of a divorce.  It is very well documented on the entire family, on everyone involved…and on our society.  

 

It used to begin without much fanfare…at least in the days of yesteryears.  There were societal ills even back then, such as my parents divorce…actually ever since the fall of mankind…with evil always trying to prevail.  Our hearts a constant battleground of evil versus good but there were topics not widely spoken of….Immorality was hidden from view….No public boasting of wrongdoings….A silent code of sorts that some today may argue as unhealthy but this silence seemed to stem from an inner self awareness of basic wrong versus right and a universal acknowledgement of evil versus good…A fundamental societal moral code of which we used to easily recognize but no longer possess the ability to do so. 

This moral code is greatly declining.   It is dissolving upon the stage of which is now viewed live by millions at one time.  The deception so very great…but the recognition of this deception so very small. 

“Woe to them who call evil good and good evil.” (Isaiah 5 :20 )….The line between the two now almost obsolete.  So many unable to see this grave mark of distinction simply because there are far fewer who do not Fear Him and/or far fewer who do not Love Him…It is as simple as this blatant fact for His timeless Word is displaying so brilliantly…so vividly….all without error….and I am able to recognize this…

yet I am so discouraged….

My frustration and discouragement began to peak and overflow last week as I prepared for our weekly visit to our woods in the country. It quickly culminated into a profound state of fear. I always choose love over fear just because I do love Him so very much …yet on this day… my fear of God was suffocating and leaving me breathless.  The end is well-written for all to read… but it is yet to be lived… good will prevail in the end….but the evil which exists currently is breathtaking….stunningly mesmerizing….and deceiving multitudes who deny its existence.  It will eventually engulf those who do not recognize it leaving no one standing in its wake of destruction….

But why do I still clearly see?

As we headed south to our country place of refuge there appeared a magnificent rainbow…fully intact…its range of color so vibrant, and so vivid in detail .  Stretching across His vastly enormous and endless sky and dissolving effortlessly into the horizon…as He gently and lovingly reminded me…yet once again of His promise.   A colorful symbol created only by Him.   Historically grounded in the biblical narrative yet at times stolen by a wayward humanity and used for another purpose.  The same humanity which now increasingly denies the role of sinner…and the desperate need for a Savior….and so… the statistics remain grim.  And our current state of upheaval and denial will only continue to  grow more bleak….more discouraging.   Yet He infuses me with hope when I am hopeless.  And I am once again brought to my knees in complete surrender…….and in complete submission to Him.. reduced into uttering one simple but profound phrase…

“Thy will be done.”

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