“The Lord Our God Will Destroy Them.”

Oh Bob! I can hear the moans even before I write these words. “Aren’t you being judgmental?” “God does not destroy people, people destroy people, God is good!” Well I say, turn with me to Psalm 94 and whence learn.

This Psalm is both a prayer and a complaint. Unjust rulers, cruel oppressors, troublesome people are having their way with God’s children.

I know vengeance belongs to God. I also presuppose that comfort is our reward when the wicked are destroyed. And yes, you weak minded honey bun eaters, I often pray that the wicked get their just reward! In modern terms we have many examples of evil magistrates. Our govenors are currently inflicting their constituents with bitterness, our foreign enemies are inflicting us with troubles, our media is inflicting us with persecution and lies.

While it is sometimes our duty to fight back with guns, God either way will not fail us. He always avenges, “He is the Lord God to whom vengeance belongeth.” But I also know that the Lord suffers for the troubles of his people. Like, our troubles are not unknown though it may seem that God hides himself. Some think He is not capable of executing His judgement upon the wicked and our oppressors. Is this is true? When have you and I gathered, crying unto God for justice? I think we complain more on Facebook than in prayer. Maybe we can learn how to address evil and evil people in this Psalm?

Remember the wicked are the proud, they not just people who have different opinions, opinions different than ours. They boast of their atheism and worldliness. They crush the poor and mock the faithful. They lie for gain. They deceive and promote their worldview. They boast in themselves, not God.

So why does God not send down fire from heaven and destroy these infidels when we pray? They are jerks, idiots, morons, haters, prideful, and perverts. He must know most of the reporters at CNN are some of these? He must know that Pelosi is a hypocrite at the very least, a wicked witch for sure (everybody knows this)! The Psalmist complains just like me! “How long Oh Lord are we to suffer their insolent boasting, their triumphant killing of babies, and the hateful division their feet bring upon the righteous?” How long can You endure it?”

When I ask these questions in prayer the answer comes easily. The injured, the believers, come to a point where we are forced to complain. Maybe it’s just age, after all these years we have had enough? Anyway, we come to a point where whatever we do is not enough. Our voices are not heard, our letters to the editor not read, our posts not “liked.” So what do we do? We must turn to God! We know the persecutions and sins of evil politicians will ultimately end in judgement, but at this point we realize our prayers are now meant to provoke God to punish our oppressors, our votes have little value.

So listen up, why do we not pray like the psalmist? These evil people will “break in pieces thy people.” They will “affect thine heritage.” You know what they are saying right? They are saying, “your god will not rescue you, he will not respond to your prayers.” When these wicked people get power in their hand they become cruel enemies. The best of them have only have civility and humanity as their gods. But their senses have been cauterized, their consciences seared. This makes them exceedingly fearless, secure in their political ideology. Relativism become justification. They certainly do not feel the judgement of God when they do evil.

We must not underestimate evil powers. We need to be wise, instructed by Gods word. The wisdom of these people is like vain folly. However they are seen by their peers, or however they see themselves they are little more than brutish beasts. Their honor is in themselves and their kind, not in God. “They are a mere breath.” Can you see to where I have progressed? I’ve just finished verse 11.

I must not leave out, though it is only implied in this Psalm, that the wicked, the atheists, the evil politicians have one hope, it is God’s long suffering at the expense of the righteous. The wicked may have time to repent, and we should hope they do. We can admonish them, and lead them to Christ for the gaining of their souls. Or, through our prayers and God’s mercy for his children bring justice in their condemnation. “Ye fools, when will he be wise?” Remenber, the Lord rules, not politicians. When they sin they sin against the law written upon their hearts, no matter which university taught them otherwise.”

Now the good part! It begins in verse 12. “Blessed is the man whom thou chastened, oh Lord, and teachest him out of thy law…” This is a temporal consolation. There are no guarantees that a Christian will be given a huge yacht, a great job, or even that Trump will get a second term. But God does prepare the faithful for everlasting rest in the midst of adversity. We sometimes are “chastened” in other words disciplined by the godly rod. This punishment as some would call it is not a token of God’s displeasure, but rather it is used to strengthen us. Just as in the end we understand the wicked will be punished, the believer can take solace in the fact that they will will be eternally delivered. He is our Sheppard, “His rod and His staff comforts us.” We will not perish with the wicked. We will not have to spend eternity with Pelosi should God not show her His extreme and gracious mercy. (Just like He did for you). Condemned believes have suffered the gallows or beheading to rise gloriously unto God. But so too have evil people filled their cup with sins and have an opportunity to repent, “until a pit is dug for the wicked.”

There are many consolations for the righteous, God’s people. The world may cast us off, but God will never see us as unworthy. His son died for us. Yes, we often times suffer as Christ did for us. We are persecuted, oppressed, yet “He will not forsake us.”

Sometimes, and I believe this is true today, earthly judges have become so corrupt that they refuse to do justice and judgement for God’s people. This is their duty. And I think God, the Judge of the World has suspended, for a time, the manifestation of His judgement against the wicked and against our oppressors; and this for His own good and holy reasons. Maybe He is waiting for us to pray this Psalm?

God used David, maybe God is using President Trump to punish some? Maybe He used Trump to give Kim Jun Un his final opportunity to repent? He at least gave him opportunity to change his ways. Trump has certainly “risen up for me against the evil-doers…the workers of iniquity. ” God is rising up others too; we must be careful not to put the orange haired man on too high a pedestal. I still respect him, he has been good for us. But remember we pray to God, He is our comforter.

Now here is an interesting verse, verse 17. “If the Lord had not been my help, My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence.” In other words, seeking the help of men alone is no help at all. Being a “conservative” will not solve all your problems, it may even enhance them. If God had not helped David he certainly would have perished before any man could rescue him. In other words our confidence should not be in man. Man may assist God’s work if called to do so. And if we “slip up” it is God’s mercy that helps us, not fortune. We all need to therefore be courageous, rugged, trusting, etc. But in times of trial it is God who offers true courage. When we distrust our own strength, and we should, we must acknowledge God’s power and mercy. His comfort delights our soul, it is a lie to “trust in ourselves.” The world tell us this is the way to greatness! “The lord is our defense… we take refuge in Him,” not in ourselves, elites, or magistrates.

Do you want to insure the destruction of the wicked, and assure the protection of God? Nothing but saving faith can uphold a man in a time of persecution; these times are meant for us to draw close. And no matter how much it may seem that the wicked have power over the righteous, God will overthrow them. We may serve God by suffering for righteousness, but pray this, “Lord show them mercy by your saving grace” or else “the Lord will bring back their wickedness upon them, and will destroy them in their evil; the Lord our God will destroy them!””

It Could Be a Sci-Fi Movie or….

What if it were possible that China, or for that matter any nation with evil people in charge, could immunize their own population or at least its leaders in advance of spreading a deadly virus worldwide? World domination made possible by a military made from viral bugs? Is this what China was working towards? Maybe their leaders are already immune to Covid 19 and the experiment is now in data collection stage? Don’t laugh at me! There are all sorts of scenarios that could make this believable. Why should a communist authoritarian regime try to compete against conventional weapons systems of the western world when in a bat laboratory is the power to kill off the world? With a more powerful and deadly virus than this one, and at least a year to develop treatments or a vaccine, the Chinese could be sitting on your couch, enjoying your beer and using the TP you stashed before you died. It could happen you know! It could also be that China accidentally let the bat out of the bag and this is phase one of their experiment gone ary?

But you say, then ask, “This is silly! People are not this evil are they?” Yes is the answer. Few nations have shown more agressive expansionist desires than China. They have categorically stated to their people that they want to dominate the world economically by 2025. And they have focused vast resources on building advanced military capabilities. We all know they will someday make Taiwan their own; as soon as we let down our guard or become the second rate military Obama wish for. The Chinese have an evil regime!

Look at how they abuse and dominate their own subjects. They oppress freedoms and spy on or kill their own whistleblowers; all who don’t line up with the party get wacked or go missing. All dissenters are “re-educated,” that sounds fun right? They don’t care about the environment or human suffering. They must hate God, it say’s so in their supreme law. And does anyone think North Korea is an rogue nation? They could not exist without China. China could change Rocketman’s aggressive and strange behavior in one phone call. But, for now, the Chinese use him to keep tensions focused elsewhere – you know, not on China itself. Have you noticed they have been firing missiles lately?

Why do I bring all this up? Have I joined all the conspiracy theorists and gone wacky myself? Not really. I just think it’s important to keep one step ahead of evil. If things are possible, they are likely to come true someday, and someday somebody will make a movie about it. We should call out what we see and defend ourselves. Kinda like Trump does when Jim Acosta asks a hateful or leading question in a White House press briefing. We need to be honest with ourselves and others. There are indeed evil people and evil regimes. Why don’t some of you believe this? There are harder things to believe, like thinking human nature is generally good! I believe evil lurks about because people are all not so good. Who would not want to rule the world?

If humans didn’t want to rule the world, why do you suppose the devil used one of his three temptations on this question: “The devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Is this not the picture the Chinese government is painting for it’s people? Bow down, bow down, believe in us they say! No, I don’t see my theory so far fetched. And just maybe, and indeed I am skeptical, but we may be in the movie right now, not just watching it?

Refreshing Tribulations

It’s Easter evening, and even for me the joy I had found in the dawn is fading. The media have returned to their lectern and the assault on President Trump has begun afresh. It was an easy detour for them but a difficult one for me. I know they hate Christianity even more than this president, but I think they find it easier to hate the messenger than the message. They always take the easy path. You may ask, what do I mean by saying the president is the messenger? Certainly he is no preacher, and no specimen of saintly behavior. But yes, I do believe he is “a” messenger from God. First he is our president, and only God puts people in power over the nations. But Trump is doing more than just ruling. Today for example Trump declared he was going to watch Pastor Jefferess of the First Baptist Church of Dallas online. I suspect a few million people tuned in to hear the pastor’s personalized message to President Trump, and if they watched the whole service they got a full throated presentation of the gospel. To my knowledge this has never happened before. And just think about how many media haters tuned in to write about it! If none came to faith and only the believers were blessed, at least those will have no excuse when they stand before God! So yes, President Trump was a messenger today in an odd sort of way!

But the main point of my writing tonight is not about the president, it is about tribulations. To start, we could say this pandemic, like all pandemics, will never cease to happen. Oh joy, right! But I suspect they, like so many personal trials, are a necessary element in our redemption. In fact, if we are not fools, we must anticipate that such tribulations will not cease “until God sees the world to be redeemed or no further redeemable.” (C.S. Lewis).

But here is the catch, and I did not think this up myself, but I believe it strongly. A Christian cannot trust in anything or anyone who promises changes in our economic, political, or scientific system, and believe heaven on earth will follow! What’s funny is that although we know this by nature it still does not discourage us from voicing all sorts of opinions on how and who we need to fix all the bad things in this world. You know what I mean. They say, “Obama would be better than Trump at this, but certainly Trump is smarter than Biden. And that Fauci character is not who we need right now!” The truth is all the vigorous attempts to remove this present tribulation are absurd. When the world is fixed and when somebody or some party takes credit other miseries will take its place. (I am not saying that fixing this problem is not desirable.)

Think about it this way, we seek healing in times like these knowing that when it is over we will return to the ordinary ups and downs of life. And every now and then the extraordinary thing happens to get our attention. I say this to remind you that the vaccine is not to be mistaken for the magical potion called faith!

Living in the natural world with or without faith is never easy. We can look for happiness and security, and we should, but we must realize it will never be like heaven. In the light of day, if your eyes are even barely open, we wander about seeing pain and tribulation all around us

No matter what you call it, Chicago or Montana, there is little truly “good” about living in paradise. And if we are so lucky, we may from time to time stumble upon joy, but who is ever safe and secure? Look, I like everyone, maybe even more, enjoy a beautiful mountain range, a cello concerto, seeing old friends on a road trip, or meeting new friends over a cold glass of beer. Even a good football game can make my heart pump harder. But I do not let these joys become obstacles, yes obstacles they can be. They can, if we are not careful, obstruct our view of God’s blessings. My true home is in God’s hands, not in how or where he blesses me. And a blessed destiny is His wish for me if I let Him lead.

So I must remember God refreshes after the tribulations and we must never make the problem worse by vague talk about unimaginable human miseries. In other words, stop listening to the “scientists, politicians, and media.” Remember scientists can only get tomorrows weather forecast right less than half the time. Politicians lie most of the time and the media are biased. Our surrender and obedience to Christ are not scientific, political, or media issues. Only here, living in the will of God will heaven on earth be almost found; in the loving arms of Christ we abide till he comes or we are called into His presence. Tribulations are not so bad if they take us here!

Happy Easter!

This Is Not a Martian Invasion

I was not alive in 1938 when Orson Welles made his radio bulletin describing a “huge, flaming object” crashing onto a farmers field outside Grovers Mill, New Jersey. Many listeners believed the Martian invasion was true. It was enough to scare the devil out of many folks, and a lot of good folks were taken in. Hysteria ensued and people got all bent out of shape, some even barricaded themselves in their homes.

It is said that Welles did not intend to throw a genuine scare into his listeners. He even had a disclaimer at the top of the show which explained that what followed would be a dramatization, and not a true story at all.

So what similarity is there between the fictional “The War of the Worlds” broadcast and the real and present danger of Corona virus? I have already said the story told by Welles was not true. They were not being invaded. But if they had been, what should have been the response? I say hysteria would be appropriate, right! I mean if I were told of alien, oily skinned, lipless creatures dripping with saliva suddenly incinerating Americans with a heat ray, I’d freak out. I’d probably run get my gun and head to the grocery store. And after this Covid experience, I’d grab some toilet paper first, then get my groceries and go hunker down. But in fact the Covid 19 epidemic is not a Martian invasion, it is a long way from it. However more and more I am becoming convinced the two events have their similarities. The response in both cases was overdone, but here I suggest the proportional response was more justified in the case of the radio show than our governments response to the real epidemic of Covid 19.

The danger we are told is that hundreds of thousands of our citizens will die if we don’t do what we are doing. That “we must slow the curve and protect our system from being overwhelmed and that our response is critical to the slowing of the curve. They say, “Exponential deaths will occur if we don’t do this together.” I understand the math. But I have many questions, like, have we actually seen all the numbers? Have our officials seen them? This is a complicated endeavor and there are many avenues of thought.

I see that they are building hospitals, putting up tents and triage units to deal with the demand that will eventually overwhelm the system. I know they have bean counters that deal with numbers, and I’m not so good at math. But so far the shelters are empty, the hospital ships in the ports are hardly used. Nobody seems to want to question the policy except to make Trump look bad, and when a wise question is asked I have heard both reasons and excuses.

I believe, and I know I will be criticized for this. Even the medical professionals in my own family will likely misconstrue my intentions; but I do not think we are being given enough information to make sound judgments. Of course a lock down is the safest course for us to stay alive. Here at home I cannot be overrun by a drunk or shot by a gang banger, or catch the flu, or the virus. But I took the time to look at the State of New York’s statistics on the conventional flue. As soon as they went into lock_down the cases of common flu declined dramatically. Ironically, the cases of Covid 19 increased. Do you see a relationship here?

Do we know how many people historically die of the common flu each day in New York? How many die each day of anything? Are they telling us this information? NO! Is it conspiratorial for me to wonder what number of those who died are confirmed Covid 19 deaths? Are they lumping in deaths of people with heart conditions, patients with cancer or diabetes, ones who would normally die if they had contracted the common flue? The question is did they die “of it” or “with it?” This is an important distinction and we are not being told which it is. I suspect we are moving people from one column to another, or maybe not.

My fundamental objection and heart felt concern is that we have received little validation from governments and scientists around the world that shutting down economies like they have will help avoid deaths. I’m not terribly concerned about a few horrible nights with a high fever. I personally do not see the correlation or the causation for a complete shut down. What have they said that proves the theory that shutting down everything is helpful? If we look at other countries we do not see one policy working better than another. In fact our policy seems to be, “Something must be done, and we are going to do it!” At first I agreed that “something must be done,” and trying everything seemed to be the answer. But what is happening now is that they seem to be throwing everything at it but also wrecking everything in its path.

“Forgive me Mr. President, I believe you are doing your best.” Yet, you are not telling us to repent and turn back to God. I think you are giving us your heart, and that’s a good thing, but listen up!

This is a tragedy, I know this. But I also know our response needs to be one of proportion. The President has said this very thing, but I’m not sure he is following his own advise. As for me, I say, “I will do everything I can to protect you as you should do everything to protect me.” This is biblical. But we must also justify the scale of the response. It is not unreasonable to take care of our personal hygiene and consider others in our actions. In fact before this crisis I washed my hands and when possible I opened public doors with my sleeve or a napkin, it was sensible. Handles are nasty! Are all Americans civilized? I suspect not! This is why some policies are authoritarian, I get it. Maybe we can maintain a portion of societal compliance, but our future is bleak if viruses like this become the norm. Do you think the average Bronx dropout or the radical teenage socialist will change their ways when this is all over? Remember a large portion of adolescents eat their own boogers! It’s a fallen world!

So what is happening? Almost every area of our lives is been rocked and affected by these mass lock-downs. The loss to our economy and our freedoms are massive. The government is preventing average people from earning a living (can you believe this?) In fact they are destroying our hopes and dreams, crushing our businesses, even keeping people from paying taxes because half the businesses have closed up shop. I have a friend in the party rental business, guess how many parties and weddings will happen this summer? He would normally do seven figures of income and employ many. The taxes that make government run are being withheld, our institutions are even starving themselves, but I’ll bet none in government will miss a paycheck! Deficits are increasing to unsustainable levels, and we are not being told how all this is going to be paid for. These are gigantic economic problems are being stored up for the future. If this nonsense of scale continues the middle and lower classes will not have the slightest chance of regaining our freedoms or our standard of living. Of course nothing will change for the ultra rich. Jeff Bezos will not miss a hundred billion dollars if all falls apart, he’s still have a few measly billion dollars left, but he is likely hedged anyway.

In the title of this post I suggest that we are not being invaded by Martians nor is this 1918 when the last huge pandemic took place amd multiple millions of people died. If it was like that, then these measures might be appropriate. A famous British journalist tells the story of a doctor who sees his patient with chicken pox and he says to him, “the only possible way to to deal with this is to cut off your left leg. This is a new treatment,” he goes on, “the treatment was developed in China and is being used around the world. And we believe it is your only hope.” So they cut off his leg and he recovers from the chicken pox; just as he would have had they done nothing or something different. In this case and ours, in the end all he has to deal with is one missing leg. This is the principal in which all countries are working today. I believe it is quite likely that this virus will eventually just go away or die down with much effort. Despite all our authoritarian efforts a natural immunity or vaccine will likely end it. Yes, a vaccine could eradicate it but that is a long time away; what is our other option?

So tell me please, I can take it, I may even need to know. Tell me with certainty that the information we have says shutting down everything and keeping people in lock-down is helping more that it is hurting, I mean is it really keeping people from dying? I’m not asking about our medical efforts, I know these help. Is all the economic pain saving lives? Is there one policy working consistently around the world that is saving lives? I ask because the stay at home policies in some nations differ widely from ours, and they are experiencing similar medical results. Hong Kong for example kept their businesses open they peaked and headed down slope, but it did not last. So now they are tightening again because the trend reversed, but still most business still remain open, what does this say about our policies? I’d much rather be in St Louis than Hong Kong, maybe being partly open would make sense? I ask why have we followed the tactics of China and not Hong Kong, or Sweden, or Japan, or Brazil? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should do nothing or that we are doing everything wrong. What I’m asking, if you remember, is, “shouldn’t our response be proportional?” I recognize it will take remarkable persistence to control the Coronavirus, maybe even a herculean effort. But we can do it! We can elbow bump, wear masks, use hand sanitizer, and wash our hands after every contact, we have to do this after every trip to the grocery store, liqueur store, or dispensary (Don’t get me started on what’s essential). Older people, those at risk, and those who worry a lot can stay in their homes with our blessing. Even idiots could be fined or thrown in jail if they pose a threat. (This is already the rule in many cities) And business owners could keep their businesses open, people could work in scrubbed and safe environments. If a business is sloppy sue them or let the Twitter trolls #bash them, isn’t that the American way? Remember, I’m debating our response and our good intentions. I offer this mostly as a secular opinion, and offer that our policies look more like we are guessing than thinking, hoping things will stick or making sure the other side does not come up with the next great idea first. If we continue beating the dead horse I believe our response could be catastrophic. Now look at the State of Montana, this is at the heart of my argument, NY has its own issues. We have 250 cases and 5 deaths, does this justify the full extent of our shelter at home policy? For goodness sake we now have contact with way more people at Costco than we ever did before the virus. Am I willing to take the risk to listen to cello music in an outdoor setting with others separated by a reasonable distance. Heck yes! A few risks make sense to me.

Finally, I know I would be exposing myself to danger if things loosen up, and they must. I understand I will not have the satisfaction of saying I was right; I play along well. Writing this has been more like a developmental exercise of my prefrontal cortex, than a hope that anybody will agree with me. It is predictable that political spin and socially acceptable conventions will shortly declare I am wrong in my thinking, I’m prepared. Besides the savage rascal in me makes my voice small, nobody will listen who counts, and half of you think I’m nuts already. So after all this, say’s the rogue spoiler, me, “We all still know the ending.” Some of our loved ones or friends will lose their lives, our economy will be crushed, government will implement more restrictions on our freedoms, the rich will get richer, and our politicians will take credit or blame the other side for everything. I kinda wish we were being invaded by Martians, at least then we would fear a real enemy.

P.S. The above is not the religious solution. I wrote this wrapped in provocative heathen rhetoric. I’m absolutely sure if our nation would come to faith in Jesus, humble itself and pray, asking God for relief He would grant it. Problem solved!

My Secret Place

There is a secret place, a place which the physical emotions and wants of the carnal mind cannot find. It is a mysterious place, a world apart from philosophy, politics or reason, where even if it could be found the unbelieving world would have no clue how to make use of it. However, for the believer it is a real place, a habitation, a shelter if you will, where all the unsearchable attributes of God’s truth, grace, power, and goodness dwell. Here, in this holy place, is where believers gather and trust in God. It is a warm and comfortable place, well furnished with love, ease, comfort, peace, refreshment, protection, and whatever else a soul could wish; it is here where the believer may and must dwell. It is here where promises are fulfilled.

Still, strong believers know they are not exempted from troubles. Nor will they not be exercised in their faith. Listen carefully, we Christians have many enemies but we shall never be overcome, or destroyed by them. How can this be you ask? I believe, and the scriptures agree, that if the believer seeks it and goes to God for refuge, and makes his habitation in this secret place of “The Most High,” he will not be refused lodging. And it is here that the believer can reside safely in “the shadow of the Almighty;” God is here for our protection and consolation.

So what happens when you enter this secret place? You will say, “He is my refuge, and my fortress, I will Trust in Him!” This is why you came in the first place right?

Surely to believe in God is also to believe in deliverance from sin and danger! Not the easy kind of danger or just the simple sins, but the kind that human wit and will cannot overcome. This takes true faith.

Sure, the believer is corrupted till the final day, but he is also protected from temptation and many snares. We have a defence, in his shadow, His watchful eye is on us always and He provides us the armor to sufficiently escape our enemies.

But how shall we defend against the terrors of night, or pestilence, or Covid 19? My friends I have thought this through, God has and does promise us safety even when many will fall. For the believer (me) and hopefully you, the suddenness of things should not increase our fears. The lord assures us no harm even “when a thousand fall beside us.” I know this is a bold statement, but the promise of deliverance is what I see in scripture. And none have this right, this promise, but the believer! The wicked will always fall for sure and we will watch in horror. We may also be exercised by fear, but the scriptures say, “No plague shall come near you;” not when you resided in the dwelling, the shelter, the secret place where The Most High is. Thus, we have a retreat from this virus and it is NOT our “shelter in place,” it is in our secret place “in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Are we so dull that we do not to see God at work? Are we too lazy to not see God beyond the daily briefings of government officials, doctors, and so called experts? I love Donald Trump, but God alone promises “no evil shall befall me, nor any plague come near my tabernacle.” So I have learned and believe God inserts himself between us and calamity to His good, and should we suffer our fate it is not a disadvantage to Him! In other words, my demise should it happen sooner than later, is no dissatisfaction to God should it happen to me while in His care. What have I to fear? I shall be with Him.

But should I live and if my enemies are too strong, He gives me refuge. If I am assailed, he provides a fortress. God has even given charge of His Angel’s to wait upon believers. Tell these things to an unbeliever and they will order us up a psychiatrist.

But we know the Lord prevents his children from destruction and he commands His Angel’s to remove stumbling blocks and provides ministering spirits for every believer. This is Christ working on our behalf! We have hope because we have the promise of victory over every enemy, over every plague and every virus. If we call upon Him, He promises to deliver us. “With a long life He will satisfy us. He has given us His Salvation.” And finally to induce the souls of unbelievers He has given them the gospel, that they too may dwell in the secret place and abide in the shadow of the almighty!

This narrative came from Psalm 91, myself, and various commentaries. This Chapter in Psalms has meant a lot to me these past few days. I hope you read it as well.

God Works!

My son asked me the other day, “Dad, are there things at your age that you are trying to accomplish?” I thought, “at my age, really, have I become a dinosaur?” Then I rattled off a couple works and obligations that satisfied him.

After that it was Sunday. I studied a little scripture, listened to a few preachers preach it, and decided today to expand on my son’s good question.

I thought about the great commission, about retirement, and work in general. First let’s get retirement out of the way. To me retirement once meant I was going to stop busting my butt to save money and put food on the table. It now means that I can actually work at “other things” because I have more time. But let’s get one thing straight! Work in an of itself is not “the curse.” If you cannot retire “just tend the garden.” You will see what than means further on. You can still act like you are retired by doing things differently. God does “work.” God gave Adam the task of tending the garden, before the “curse.” He said, “…we should work it and keep it.” The “curse” simply makes work arduous. Weeds get in the way, crops fail, there are times when it does not rain. He did not say give up, He said “tend the garden and keep it.”

And girls, childbearing is not the “curse” either. Childbearing is not a bad thing, I am told it simply hurts like hell. “I will multiply your pain in childbearing,” He said to the woman. So work itself is not bad, weeds suck, but we were created in God’s image to work and bear fruit! Childbearing is not bad, it is painful; kids bring us joy!

God works, even today! If you think like most scientists and skeptics that God or the Great Something (“if he exists,” they say) just set everything in random motion, retired, and now sits on His golden Lazy Boy hoping for grandbabies to come visit Him your view of God is all wrong!

Even Christians can get living all wrong. They think since the “New Covenant” came along our chief path is to only preach the gospel. Some even say, “Only on Sundays so as not to offend.”  It is, however, true that telling others about the good news of Jesus is our primary function, make disciples dude! But we are not all supposed to quit our jobs and become preachers (some should). There is also a social, cultural, and legal element in being a christian.

As far as retirement is concerned. Remember, most of us worked all our lives and about now (if you are considering retirement too) we finally just stopped being an idiots, and now we want to quit?

This is what I told my son. I said God has blessed me in so many ways, I’ve worked well on saving and planning, I have learned much, and I know way more than I did when I was younger. My “job” in retirement is to help others, to pass on what I have learned. I want to pass on my knowledge and my passion. Of course I will take a little time out to experience joy; to travel, fish, and build things. God is more than a slave driver, He loves us as we love our children, you want to take a little vacation kids? Let’s do it! But when we get back it’s noses to the grindstone!

Speaking for most of my friends who have not retired they either don’t feel like they have enough money to retire or they have the “what the heck am I going to do” fobia. I heard a preacher once say, “Most men if they are honest, don’t want to go to heaven!” They think heaven is a place where men sit on clouds and play harps. They are right in thinking that heaven is no place for “real men” if heaven is that boring. But heaven is also not the big golf course in the sky where retired Christian’s rest and play silly games. No, it’s not! Remember again, God works! He made us in His image. So we will also work in heaven. Did you see that sunset the other day? Did you receive a blessing from God recently? Do you know that God wants us to subdue the earth? He said so in Genesis! Why did He say so? Could it be that what we should do, what we should “work” at, is to reflect the Glory of God. Let’s think about building things. When I built my house I wanted it to reflect the glory of the mountains behind it. Who made the mountains? A walnut tree is beautiful in its own setting, but when I build a piece of furniture, the bark is stripped off, the wood is cut and planed, sanded and polished to create something beautiful! God likes beautiful things, right! I subdued creation! What I’m saying is there is also a cultural angle to worshiping God. Do whatever you do well. Hard work honors him, building things that function well for society honors Him. At the same time building things that are beautiful honors him. So it is with building relationships and doing your best at whatever you work at. We have a choice, our works in retirement and life can honor us for a season or honor God for eternity.

Let me finish by writing about goodness. Food is good right! We work to plant it and we labor to get it out of the ground. Or like most of us we labor to pay for some underpaid third world illegal worker to dig it up ( that’s another story). So with work we subdue, chop, salt and grill to perfection those potato’s, carrots and onions. And they taste good! And much better grilled. Is it dinner time? Do you thank God for the millions of taste buds He gave you? How about your wife? He gave you a “helper,” do you thank God for her? Did her loving hands cook your meal? Can you afford to share that goodness with someone else?

You see there are lots of things we can “work” at in retirement. Some like to say retirement is doing what they want when they want to do it. Other say it is like changing jobs. I like to say it is like having more responsibility. We must figure out what we should work at; not just work when or how we want to do. It is like being more in tune with “nature,” of course I mean God, not mother earth, or gaia, the non existant mother of all life. The good, one, eternal God made us from the dust of the earth. We cannot be any more in touch with nature than that! The gospel has a broad and deep influence on individuals, societies, and cultures. Preach it and live it all of your days. Work at showing others how beautiful God is. And enjoy Him forever!

Drilling For Wine in National Parks

Jed, “there is wine in these mountains!”

Presently most of us drink wine with a nice dinner. Others sip it at celebrations. And some guzzle it as if it were the center of their happiness. The proponents of wine drinking say it has numerous health benefits, at least that’s what they say after a seemingly endless day at work. Frankly, many of us just covet wine, and we buy oversized wine glasses to express our love for it!

But what if wine was a non-renewable national resource? What if it was recently discovered deep underground in some famous national park. Would it be worth recovering? I can hear the satirical responses, “Not it it tasted like Boonsfarm or Two Buck Chuck!” I get that! But what if it tasted better than a perfectly chilled bottle of Blanc 1947 St-Emilion right out of the ground? The whole idea makes way for a Hollywood drama. Greed and Envy could play the antagonists, while Self Righteousness and Fundraising the super hero’s. And what about the connoisseur’s and aficinado’s? What roles could they play?

My Favorite

I speculate to have fun, but also because the subject of drilling for oil in a National Park came up in a friend’s post. I explained my opinion this way.

“I’m not one bit concerned about exploring for oil in national parks if there is a national need. But I agree wholeheartedly that we should not export our oil, or for that matter any necessary natural resource unless there is a humanitarian reason for doing so. Having an abundance should result in less exploration and lower prices, not exploitation and greed. My opinion is one in the minority, and will not be liked by either political persuasion. Both parties, in my opinion, model the sin of thoughtlessness. And avarice typically appropriates, without permission, what belongs to another. Of self interest we are all guilty.
I have now added my “layer” to the story, thanks for letting me do so!”

Then the idea of underground wine popped into my head. – No, I’ve not been drinking! I wanted to see if my “opinion” held water in this senerio, and I think it has. I would allow drilling for wine, so long as it could be enjoyed by American citizens. Our national treasures are important, and so are our national resources. Self interest has its role in society, and both oil and wine their place within limits. God gives us limits too, within His limits are the best of things. And they usually are meant for our comfort and pleasure; oil and wine.

Bitter Pill Pelosi

I just listened to Pelosi’s news conference and I’m feeling a little green. It does not matter that you know what she said (The Media will tell you). We already know that everything she says about President Trump is filled with bitterness, hate, and lies.

Let’s start with grudges. A grudge is “a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.” I know people who carry grudges, holding them never pays off, but what Nancy Pelosi has in her mind is more than a grudge. She has expressed intent to punish the President on the scale of a public hanging or burning at the stake. She said so in so many words today. Almost in the same breath, she said again today that she prays for the President. What Pelosi does not understand about prayer is that it impossible for her to prayers to be heard by God with such hate and evil intent in her words, actions, and soul. Prayers do not work folks when we conspire to do immoral, illegal, or harmful things againt others. David in the bible said, “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Psalm 66:18

In fact our prayers often backfire! Isn’t it obvious? Pelosi hates the brash Donald Trump, and it is implied that she hates me because I like him. I think the guy has learned some lessons and he is a pretty decent guy deep down.

It does take the humble view that “we too are sinners” to forgive others. I think she also hates me because I voted for him. One of her followers flipped me off for wearing my MAGA hat. It takes a lot of hate to hate a hat. This self righteous lady needs God’s love and forgiveness. I’m being kind by calling her a lady, but we can pray for her. God has his way of humbling people. All our leaders need our prayers!

It irked me today, and I turned green just after Pelosi called herself “dignified and gracious!” She also called her actions “justified” when she ripped up Trumps speech. I think Nancy Pelosi is visious and mean as hell! She has exposed herself, she is the party’s pole dancer; she will do anything to the win power, to overturn the election, to control our lives and to destroy our values. But this is more than a political battle, it is a spiritual battle.

We need to remember politics is her game, not ours. We need to be kind to others. We also need to be firm in our beliefs. We need to understand the Enemy’s (Satan’s) game plan. He lies, he divides, he wants your emotions, your fears, even your political loyalty because loyalty to a party usually requires God to be second or third. So what can we do? Vote of course! But we also need to put on “the whole armor of God.” Read about it in the bible, the last chapter in the book of Ephesians.

Our nation is at risk from evil leaders like Pelosi (It had not always been so). Today’s political leaders infect attitudes, morals, and Christian values. She, and leaders like her, are like disease causing organisms. They host the “Stone Cold Crazy” pathogen that divides good people and destroys relationships. She currently leads the elite, highly educated party of division. They support baby killing, open boarders, protecting criminals, racism, homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, drug legalization, and freedom “from” religion. She lies when says her party is the party of “working folks.” It is in the rich, high tax, crime ridden, corporation infested, failing big cities where they farm the majority of their sheep. I think “regular folks” live elsewhere.

I live in Montana. I’m feeling better now!

It will take more than a kiss to change Nancy into a princess, so pray. God has done greater miracles, He saved me!

P.S. To my liberal friends and neighbors, I hold no ill will toward you, in fact I think you are wonderful. I believe this is not so much about you and me. It is a bigger “spiritual battle!” You have been kind to me and I understand you do not hold all the beliefs, qualities, and characteristics of Nancy Pelosi – nor I of Donald Trump; Thank God!

The Sweet Spot

I’m 63 years old, married to a lovely woman and we have a very kind son who makes us happy and proud.  We are both retired and fairly well off financially, We live where the air is fresh and the views are stunning, and we have a beautiful home. Our faith is strong. Our neighbors good. Even our dog is in her groove. She is almost eleven years old and she can practically speak the human language. She loves us and she certainly understands what we say to her. 

We can say definitively, we are blessed. But it has not appeared always so in the past. We have had trying times, struggles, and  losses of loved ones. We have been almost flat broke, our families life a mess, and business pretty much sucked at times. And if you include my pre-married life you could add debt, foolishness, arrogance, stupidity, and a deeply sinful existence. But this story is not about the bad stuff, nor a story of redemption or success.  It is simply about a point in time, a specific period in my life where I don’t believe it can get any better. The past had its say, it is the present I am writing about; it’s fashionable to be up to date!

I woke up this morning (when I wanted to) and as I lay in bed I was thinking about that very hour in my life. This is the “Sweet Spot,’ I thought.

To see this clearly you must know, that the day before today, my mom was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. She is still there today, she is exhausted but doing much better thank you. She is in good hands, and I think she will be just fine, at least for another season – Lord willing. You may see now why I launched into the moment. People often do this when they think about the fragility of life. We all know things can change in a heartbeat. For those of us older folks, we have experienced the heartbreak, the fear, and the tragedy in a jumbled second in time. But this time the tragic event did not happen, it was only a bitter warning, a sort of advance notice that sorrowful days, calamities, disastrous conclusions, and tragic dramas are yet ahead. 

In the dawn of the next day (today), and after knowing my mom was ok, my first impulse was to think about where I was in this moment. I awoke to the realization that this was sort of an axis point for me. On one side of the teeter totter the struggles of a growing faith, raising a child,  a lifetime of frugality, and responsibilities working and dealing with humanity, on the other, our future; the ailments of a deteriorating body, the pain of loss, and that damned convalescent home. Then there are those fears like plagues, earthquakes, persecutions, and broken hips and cancer. But today, this day, life was in perfect balance, and I had never thought so in the past. 

There are no present struggles, few worries, only the brief blemish of fear and misery thinking my mom was ill. We have no huge material aspirations or desires unachievable. We can go practically anywhere, do almost anything, and eat great food. Eating good food is a special blessing for us at this age! We have great friends, our son is doing well, our mom’s have been well, yet they are becoming old faster than we wish. We are blessed they are still here for us and us for them. Our love for God, our prayer life, our knowledge and faith is strong. We are healthy, and medicare is just around the corner, yea!  And Jackie and I are more in love than ever. We have all sorts of plans. 

If I’m forced to look back on the photos taken over the past year in retirement I realize how much fun we have had, how much we have done, it’s ridiculous!. Today, I talked to mom, went for a run, and my wife is making us a shrimp dinner. Tomorrow we get together with our community for snowshoe softball. In a week my wife gets to spend time with her mom and in a month we hit the road again in our van. “My cup runneth over; surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. SWEET!

Psalms 23

A Psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

To be God

I just finished reading a fantasy where I encountered magical creatures, unfamiliar wonders, epic battles, and revelations of transcendent truths. It opened a door into a world I have not traveled nor believed in till now. But more notably it made me think about God and what it would be like to be Him.

Perelandra

At once, in this new discovery, I struggled to step outside the frame of human perspective, but realized I could still imagine things. I’m not thinking about things possible, but the impossible, even more the divine. I know intellectually that things which appear to be accidental can be things designed, even matters like the distinction between a sunday drive and marriage can be linked. If we think hard the missing pieces can be imagined, the author helped me here. The author likewise showed me that is easier to see divine linkage in hindsight.

I have hurried to understand the images, the meaning, the processes of God’s plan for my present and future life. He has not made this too hard. His word, the orthodoxy of creeds, even the Holy Spirit are all here to guide me.

However, I do not here want to consider His revealed character. I shall rather imagine with effort what it means to be God in an imaginative sense. I do this not to transcend His will, because I cannot. I do it because I know whatever I can imagine He can do as long as it does not offend His character. I wish to explore things like “can He fly?” (Of course He can!). I ask, has he made worlds other than our own? Maybe! But could He? Of course, He’s God! Simple right? What about the angels? Are they transported into our lives by His command or do they just act on our behalf because they love Him; a sort of desire followed by duty.

When I read a good science fiction story I think , ” Wow, the author is so creative. His imaginations are so incredibly infeasible, except if he were God himself this could never happen.” I think, “but God can you make me fly? What is impossible for you?” Have you made a cave I follow to the center of the earth? Are the clouds bright yellow on Venus? Is the grass blue? Are there floating islands? Perhaps Lewis’s Perelandra is more than mental imagery? Could it have been a true noumenon, an imagined phenomenon revealed to only one man, authored in time, written as a fictional fantasy? What stops the Lord from giving to one person a gift that expresses an unknowable world? I think we call this Eden. Is Perelandra really a fantasy? What is Venus really like anyway? What stops you Lord from giving to me a recreative imagination? The ability to experience or think about the world or worlds from a different perspective, different from the perspective of everybody else or most everybody, and different from the perspectives that are practical and reasonable; what the world presents to us? Some call such thoughts the experiences or the wishes of a madman! The Apostle John should be called a “madman” today. And Christians madmen for believing the vision written in Revelations.

The whole idea that God is so much bigger than even a transcendent imagination blows my mind!

Think about art! What artist is greater than God? Can the painter create works equal to the real thing? Just imagine what real things are yet to be created by God? He is limitless! Can He run out of ideas? Ok, I’m impressed by many artists, certain artists. But when I think of God I can only thank Him for giving those artists the ability to imagine things outside the framework of my simple mind, and the skill to pull off the duty to express them. I have learned imagination is not a fools errand, it is a gift, but not a limitless one. All magnificence, all beauty, all renoun, all honor must then go to God; I can only be one through which He is honored. I can hardly imagine Him; I cannot be Him! It is much easier to believe in Him!