The Day of Vengeance

For some reason this morning God took me to Jeremiah 51. It pertains to the desolation of Babylon. My mind wants to overlay it with our country’s present situation. Can it be?

We’ve wasted our inheritance in the last twenty or so years. Our country has become as Babylon. True Christianity in the United States is becoming a valuable treasure to find. We’ve allowed the wolves and foxes to destroy the vines of our morality and Biblical principles. We have sat by the side idly letting the world overtake our inheritance.

I’ve read FB pages of renowned ministries with people that babble nonsense as the true definition of scripture. Christocentrism has lost its place in our pulpits. Every so-called Christian I have seen blindly goes about espousing their beliefs as being the truth when they utterly fail to seek Christ as the centerpiece of their lives.

My heart has been troubled for a while now and this morning the Lord opened up to me why. The following paragraph has left me crying and trembling.

Prepare yourself before the Lord. His time of vengeance is coming upon us. If you think you’re escaping this time in some unseen mysterious disappearance you will be sadly disappointed. God never meant for you to escape. He meant for you to endure through tribulation, no, not only endure but overcome through it. Prepare your hearts, people of Zion. Your day of victory is at hand.

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This post isn’t about defeat. It’s about victory. But I must share this for those that think every day is peaches and cream.

I was mostly at fault in an auto accident last Sunday. I made a left turn knowing in my mind I had time to make the turn, but someone that was speeding, verified by two witness reports, hit my vehicle in the passenger door where my wife was sitting. I should have not turned, but this area of town is renowned for some rather daredevil drivers. I guess I could include myself from the turn that I was cited for. My wife was not injured. The vehicle we were in is a very safe one, but the crash was enough to turn it into salvage. I went by the salvage yard today to retrieve my license tag. The SUV is gone. Now comes the hunt for another as near like it as possible. I just got word that the insurance company had paid my lender for the market price of it which paid all but a small amount of the loan. I already have one picked out and I’m waiting for the dealer to finish prepping it for purchase.

I won’t go into details surrounding the moments following the accident, but it took a day for me to realize what had happened. My wife and her sister in the back seat could have been seriously injured, but by the grace of God, they are fine. The people in the vehicle that hit me have not contacted me so I have only the knowledge that they refused treatment at the scene and left in another vehicle.

However, this has not left me in a good way mentally. I’ve replayed the accident in progress as it happened over in my mind several times and hope to never have that memory be the first of more. I hope it to be the only time in my life this ever happens.

As I have stated in the past I suffered from severe depression with anxiety attacks. This week has been rather a playback of the depression part. My mind has been foggy and I wish to sleep all the time and don’t really want to go out. I have no interest in anything. If I were to let it I would go into a deep abyss and stay there.

This is where the learning process I’ve have endeavored to become has kicked in. I cannot and will not let depression be my way of life. I’ve talked to God and you know what? He is talking to me. What stablizes me is that He has told me He has everything under control and I’ll be alright. Oh, I’m waiting at times for some invisible hammer to drop, but still, I find comfort in God being in control. My wife and those around me hold me up and I find there are certain things that happen that let me know God is true to His Word.

Right after the accident I was threatened by the husband of the woman that hit my car with hers. The police stepped between us and I realized that my friends from the Warriors Motorcycle Ministry were there along with the City Harvest Reapers Motorcycle Ministry. They all gathered around and the husband left. They all stayed with me till the other party left the scene. If you’ve ever seen a motorcycle gang, there’s a close resemblance except these guys are Christian. Most of them came from a rough background.

I was actually able to drive my SUV back home the couple of miles, but when I turned into my driveway a tie-rod end broke making it undriveable. How’s that for the providence of God?

To move on a bit, the next day after the accident my niece called me to tell me goodbye. She stopped her dialysis last November because of severe allergic reactions and she could not deal with it anymore. To add to this she is not viable for a kidney transplant due to other issues. She told me she was informed most don’t live much more than six weeks after stopping dialysis, so she has done well to be here still. However, now she is fading in her memory, hasn’t eaten in six weeks, and has lost a tremendous amount of weight. We talked for some time and I assured her that what she decided was an informed decision that she made and not to let anyone fill her with nonsense. I concluded that I have to allow her wishes to be hers. I feel she is at peace with it. Then. . .I hung up the phone and cried.

Life is not guaranteed. My wife could have been seriously injured or killed. My niece is dying. Folks, it’s been a tough week, but we live and move and have our being in Christ Jesus. He is our rock. No matter what befalls us, including you that reads this will be crushed under the load for He will not give us more than we can bear.

If you’re feeling the weight of a load that you’ve been carrying this week just remember you can let it go in praise to God. He is more than willing to forgive you for yours or my own shortcomings and we can rise up tomorrow afresh and walk in His will for our lives.

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(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay

By Otis Redding

Sittin’ in the morning sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evening comes
Watching the ships roll in
Then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah

I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the Frisco Bay
‘Cause I’ve had nothing to live for
And look like nothing’s gonna come my way

So, I’m just gon’ sit on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m sittin’ on the dock of a bay
Wastin’ time

Looks like nothing’s gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can’t do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I’ll remain the same, listen

Sittin’ here resting my bones
And this loneliness won’t leave me alone
2,000 miles I roam
Just to make this dock my home, now

I’m just gon’ sit at the dock of a bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
Sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

Just three days after recording this song, Otis Redding and all but one of his band members and the pilot died in a plane crash while heading to a concert.

He was described as vigorous, trustworthy, full of fun and a successful businessman. He was active in philanthropic projects. His keen interest in black youth led to plans for a summer camp for

disadvantaged children.

He came from a poor family. He quit school at age 15 to help support his family. He was married before age 20. So just from that you can feel where he came from. You can read his bio on Wikipedia.

What struck me to post this was because the song is such a sad song. All his family and musicians and producers didn’t want him to record it, but I feel there was something in his heart telling him to do otherwise, because he insisted it would be a hit. The reason I believe it was a hit was because it resonated in the hearts of so many people that grew up with no hope in their lives.

Had he lived left me to wonder if he would have been a beacon of light for so many young people with his camp. I wonder how many have been touched by his song. How did it help them if at all.

I would like to say this one thing. If you’re at the bottom of the barrel, rock bottom, or however you want to say it there is nowhere to go but up. I know that’s a difficult thing to do because I’ve been there. But to those that read this, it can be done, because I’ve seen it done. If you have nothing to lose, then go for the heights. It’s not the falling down that will bring victory. It’s the getting up. And that is no matter how many times you fall. The getting up is what brings that victory over circumstances that pushes us down.

Please remember that you don’t have to give in to the darkness that surrounds you at this very moment. Get up. Get active. Go talk to someone you trust. And most of all talk to God. He really does listen. And He really does answer.

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No One Knows

But of that day and hour no one knows not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. . .Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming – in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning – lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch! Mark 13:32-36

Many so called prophets of this day claim to know the approaching hour of the return of our Lord. I

have to give it to them for their diligence to seek out the “when” in all scripture, but I have learned there are things that are best left alone. Most prophetic pointers are taking people’s eyes off of the present day’s pressing needs to be at work for the Gospel’s sake.

People naturally fear what they are seeing today and equating it to prophet’s warnings. From what I’ve been through in all my years (over 70), I’ve heard the same stories over and over again. I study history to some degree. Not the depth of a true historian, but I get by. World War I and II were horrendous wars. In WW1, history experts estimate around 16.5 million and in WW2, anywhere from 50-70 million, others say 72 million. Combining both would roughly give 88.5 million people deceased from both World Wars. In 1945 at the end WWII the estimated population of the United States was 132.5 million people. Comparing those numbers we see that if it had been our country we would have lost over half of our population to the war.

I have to keep an open mind to who is saying what. Harold Camping, now deceased, made several predictions of which all have come and gone. Pat Roberson predicted the end to occur in 2007. A pastor in Indiana, Pastor Paul Begley is the host of The Coming Apocalypse, a show about biblical prophecy that is broadcast online and on some TV channels in the US predicts the coming Antichrist.

For more than thirty years Jack Van Impe came on TV to strike fear in people to be saved from the coming rapture. He is now deceased. Fear is a dominate emotion that is played on towards the lost as well as Christians. I’ve heard it said “If you have to scare them into salvation, you have to keep them scared to keep them from backsliding”. That’s an old order ministry. Hopefully this is a dying doctrine as well.

People should not have to be afraid of the future. I prefer to quote what many have said. “I read the end of the Book and we win.” Where’s the fear in that?

I don’t care one whit what the purveyors of doom sprinkled with fear have to say. I honestly don’t know when Jesus will return. I’ve studied it and yes there are signals spelled out in scripture to watch for and I do. But I haven’t the time to quibble over it. The important thing to do is what I told my once upon a time brother law, who was a preacher. He and I sat eating pizza in a popular restaurant in Wilmington NC many years ago. He asked me did I know the church I was attending didn’t preach the rapture. I said I know, but that doesn’t matter in the present. If we are not doing what God put us here for TODAY, what good is our worry over tomorrow?

There is so much I could say over this subject, so if you have questions, please pose them for me. Just let’s remember Mark 13 and what Jesus said. Let’s stay awake and be busy for this day, for the Master may return in our lifetime. If not, so be it. Just keep working. As I sometimes say, “When He gets here, He’ll be here.

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Tithing vs Giving

Creflo Dollar has told his congregation to throw away all his teaching on tithing because he has been wrong in it. Tithing according to what he has found is not mentioned in the NT. I’d already done my research in the past on it and the following is what I found.

I had a 93-year-old preacher tell me one time it was not NT. I searched and found it isn’t in the NT. Only OT. So far as I can tell the NT says give everything. Jesus told the rich man to give all that he had (and went on to promise immense spiritual rewards to those who give everything to follow Him (Matthew 19:29-30). He also commended the widow who gave essentially nothing in actual material value, because she gave “all she had” (Luke 21:4). So, the amount matters not. It’s the “all” part that is correct in giving.

I can confidently say two things on the tithing issue as a biblical matter: (1) the 10 percent tithe was a specific requirement that served a specific purpose under the Old Testament law (see, among other passages, Leviticus 27:32 and Numbers 18:26-32) and (2) neither Jesus nor any New Testament writer assigns or even affirms 10 percent as a specific amount to be given by believers under the new covenant.

But what Christ has done for us on the cross and the future promise of perfect fellowship with God for all eternity has made us free from the old restrictions and requirements of the law, and we are called to present our entire lives as acts of worship to the Lord (see Romans 11:36-12:1). We are subject to giving in a broader sense including our time, talent, and treasure. In the NT we are taught not about tithing, but “giving” out of our abundance. In more than one of his letters, the apostle Paul instructs Christians to give financially — robustly and even sacrificially — to the work of the Gospel, especially toward the preaching of the Word (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 9:3-15, 2 Corinthians 5-9 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18). We should give some thought to what it means to “contribute out of abundance” (Luke 21:4). God is not calling us to irresponsibility.

In that sense, we should “give only what we can,” but as you evaluate that amount. As far as giving all I reference Acts 2:42-46. It’s not about tithing. It’s under the law. The NT under grace says just what the new converts in Acts did. They gave all.

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In The Midst of Graduation

This past weekend I graduated from Aidan University’s certification process to become an American Chaplain Association fully accredited Chaplain.

Our commencement speaker was Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. M.L. King Jr. She has a rather impressive resume’, yet is such a down-to-earth, easy-to-talk-to person. Yet in all that she speaks with authority.

Dr. Alveda King

The journey continues. I now have a release date on my book for the 8th of August. It will be in Barnes & Nobles, Amazon (also in ebook), Walmart, and the TBN website, or maybe it’s the Trilogy Publishing site.

So, as I sit here posting this I find I’m blessed beyond measure, but I must tell you as someone who is transparent. My wife says many times I tell people too much. Being this way is not to puff up my chest. I have no itch to preach, nor speak of myself, except that which Christ has blessed me with.

Success doesn’t come without failure and I’ve had plenty of that. Someone posted on FB this week from my friend list that they felt like giving up. My response was that Thomas Edison spent a year and a half and some 10,000 attempts before he made a viable inexpensively producible light blub. Still, he was not the first to invent the light bulb. Just the first one to produce an inexpensive, viable public-use light bulb. Just like Henry Ford. He was not the first to build a car. His real claim to fame was reproducible parts assembled on a line to build huge numbers of cars. None of this came without failure.

Some of you that read my blog come from backgrounds where you have seen failure. I’m also vulnerable. I have written before about crashing and burning almost fifteen years ago from severe depression and suffered panic attacks. Anxiety is a killer when it comes to failure. I still have bouts of depression, even in the midst of successes. Don’t let the downside overtake your upside. Never give up on yourself. Remember that God gave His Son to reestablish a relationship with you. Why? Because He wants communication with someone He cares for without end. My response is I want the exact same thing with Him. It’s that simple.

The message of salvation is so simple. If you feel you have a relationship with God but feel not quite there, it’s time to find out why. Stop and reprioritize. Eternity is an endless time to gain out of it with the serenity of knowing nothing will change with that kind of relationship. That’s so reassuring that it should make all the failures here seem so small compared to the successes that will be our reward.

So far my life has seen the manifestation of the things that God told me I would accomplish. For decades I have pursued God in ministry and became ordained. Now I have gained status not only as a Chaplain, but now I’m an author. It isn’t much compared to some, but it is what God told me I’d see for myself. No one can take that away. What is out there for you? Are you pursuing it? If not, why?

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Just When You Think You’re Broken

I had concluded a while back I had come to a place in life where I would no longer have issues with doing wrong. However, I find today that God has a way of turning up the heat in the cauldron on my life to bring even more dross to the surface.

Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.Romans 7:17-18

God has His way of taking haughtiness out of my life by showing me I still need to deal with sin in my life. I’m good with that. The conclusion of the fresh heating process has made my heart softer and less encumbered with pride that may have grown if left unchecked.

No one is above the need for a continued life of discipleship. We must learn to deal with our shortcomings in order to mature. As some of you that read this blog may have come across my explanation of the word “mature”. To some that trip over the word “perfect”, let me refresh you.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matt 5:48

The English translation from the Greek has tripped up many believers into thinking perfection in the terms of doing absolutely no wrong. The correct translation can be derived from the following definition from the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

Complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with 3588) completeness:–of full age, man, perfect.

The definitions deal primarily with maturity or “of full age” Maturity or maturing is a progressive work from day to day. Perfection is the ultimate end, but it requires the process of success and failure as well. I could say that perfection includes falling, yet getting up and continuing the journey. In the getting up I find that a degree of maturity (perfection) is working in that we do not accept failure as an end to reaching the goal of becoming Christ-like.

So as we look at Matthew 5:48 we are directed to strive for maturity as we draw closer to our Father which is perfect. It doesn’t actually say we will suddenly become mature when we are born again. We can no more do that than a baby becoming an adult in a day. Again I stress perfection or maturity is the end result of a process that we work through.

So today even at my age I find myself still saved by the blood of Jesus, yet by the way of God’s testing I find there is still sin that has to be dealt with. Doing so will bring me closer to Him and that maturity or perfection that all of us are working towards that follow Him will be achieved.

If you feel you’ve fallen short, as we all do, getting up and forging ahead will clear a path towards perfection. I keep bouncing around between these two words, because the are synonymous. Maturity is the goal.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the highcalling of God in Christ Jesus.Phil 3:14

Therein lies the realization of our full salvation in Him

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Someone to Watch My Back

This will be a short post. I’m a Vietnam Era Veteran. I was drafted. I will say however that I had tried to enlist up to six months prior for a particular MOS (Military Occupational Skill). Not getting it and waiting for it to open got me caught in the draft since I was 1A.

During my time in the military I learned one thing that will not be popular today. I think all young people should serve at least two years of active duty time. It may seem like a negative, but I have to impress you that it is without a doubt the best two years of my young life. I grew up quicker from the experience than any other timeframe in my life.

To put things a bit in perspective, while I was stationed in Germany, I found out most European countries require their citizens to serve two years of service to their country. I believe it instills good principles to live by.

Below is my reply to a post concerning the friendships while in the service of our country.

I was just responding to a post about how people that joined the military formed friendships that go beyond just knowing each other. I learned what all of us in the military learned. My main priority was to watch the backs of all my fellow soldiers in the field. Our lives depended on that. We learned we all had value. It could mean our own life. It could mean our military brother’s life. As Christians, I cannot understand how some cannot understand that. I value my brothers in Christ.

As a Christian, I find that although the military isn’t a Christian organization, it still used Biblical principles to live by. Search the Word. The military is a fellowhip of veterans. We could learn from that how to treat our fellow Christians.

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I wake up around four most mornings, but it’s usually to make my wife something for her breakfast before leaving for work. Well a couple of mornings have been different lately. Take this morning for instance. It’s Saturday morning and my wife is off. We are going to leave around six thirty and go to New Bern for breakfast with our church group called SALT or Seasoned Adults Living Triumphantly.

But first God wanted to show me something relavent to the world around me today.

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:

He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. – Luke 6:46-49

People today in large part, including many Christians have failed to build on a foundation of rock. What a sad view of the world, but it is true. So what is the foundation?

God laid out a plan for success for all Christians. The plan of salvation is what starts the building process. Let’s illustrate this as the building permit. Without salvation nothing can be built until we are approved of the Father. That approval comes from our admission of our ingrained sinful nature and we repent from it, receive the gift of the new birth. We walk from death into life with a regenerated spirit thereby giving us the capability to communicate and fellowship with the Father through the Holy Spirit that comes to live inside of us. This gives us the ability to communicate with the architect directly when we have trouble with the blueprint (the written Word).

But even that is just the beginning. God didn’t give us the gift of salvation to let us continue building our morals and right-standing on a foundation upon the sand. There are still requirements that we must want to do. And I might add we must come to a place where we do indeed want to do right not just for the sake of obtaining something to benefit ourselves selfishly. We must want to do it out of our acknowledgment of the free gift of life eternal that was afforded us.

Every day now as I have grown older I realize the value of that very thing. God has granted me life well beyond what my dad had pronounced upon me. I chose to follow God’s pronouncement upon my life if I follow His plan. God had a better plan.

He has engrained in me over my lifetime of the importance of digging deep down to the Rock of my salvation and building my foundation on the principles that Jesus taught during His lifetime here on earth in ministry. There are principles that are taught in the beatitudes and all throughout the gospels that offer insight in how to build good sound moral character.

Building on the Rock is not an earthly thing. It is building on the spiritual values taught by Jesus. That is what has been lost over the last two generations of Americans. In the sixties came the cry for freedom. The problem was it was freedom from Godly principles. Americans have set themselves free from God by doing away with the lowest part of the building and that is eliminating prayer and showing allegiance to this nation which God gave us in our schools. So the downhill slide began with our children. They, my friend, are our building blocks in the natural to a sound foundational future. Our children today have no aim in life outside of what is in front of them. Their own selfish desires have overtaken them and we, as adults have made no attempt to place withing them the discipline to create a continuance of a moralistic society. It has become corrupt.

What has been sadly given the title of leaders, which rightly should be called representatives of the people have become demagogues over the people. The government was instituted to protect the people has now become the oppressor of the people because of the lack of building on the solid foundation of Christian principles essential to the health of this nation.

I have no fear of them as I know their foundation. It is built on the earth (or sand). It will fall on its own. I’ve always concluded from the principles set forth by God that the one thing evil doesn’t understand is that their way is self-destructive in its own nature. It cannot survive. The inner workings of evil tends to eat its own self from the inside out. That is because there are no sound moralistic principles being propagated for the health of a sound nation.

God is not smiling on the United States of America. He is crying. He is calling on us as Christians to stand up, not for a nation, but for Him to reestablish Himself in us in order that we may regain the light into the world of His preeminence.

We must once again dig. That is work, my friend. We must search for the Rock of our salvation and begin to relay the dismantled building blocks upon that solid foundation or we will perish as a nation. To be honest I’m not concerned about the nation as being anything other than a platform for God to regain His foothold on this earth. We need to return to Him. He is our foundation. Let’s get busy about the Father’s business.

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We’re Not Going Anywhere

The Lord woke me this morning and gave me a verse for those who will hear. Isaiah 51:12 – Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and the son of a man who will be made like grass? Then on down to verse 16b – I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, that I may plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, “You are My people”. Then over to Matt 5:5 – “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

Noah’s Ark riding on a swell after the Great Flood

If you think you’re leaving this earth in a secret disappearance, please unpack your bags. The earth is ours. God gave it to us and I plan on staying and seeing it taken away from the evil that is out there like in the days of Noah. God prepared an ark while the wicked were destroyed. He protected His people. When it was all over look who was truly left. His people. Go back and read the verses above. Then read the following:

But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Matt: 24:37-39

Noah was left, folks. We’re not going anywhere.

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