Feb 16, 2015

A Movie Review of The Kingsmen

Abigail and Dolley readers I rarely go to action movies, like the Westerns of yesteryear they are largely passe' and trite.  Always full of huge explosions, thin plots, and improbable story lines, they bore me.  Since the introduction of CGI, film makers take the former overused devises and now assault your senses with dozens of slow motion "flying side kick" fight sequences.  The new technology has made it possible to portray women with equal or superior strength and skills to men.  ((Yawn)).  The Kingsmen Secret Service looked from the previews to be an exception. I joined the family for movie night, fully expecting a smart and well thought out action flick in The Kingsmen; I was sorely disappointed!  This movie is nothing but Propaganda with a British Accent - awful.

(Spoilers ahead) - Here are some of the messages:

The Green Agenda - people are killing the planet. The Earth has a fever and people are the cause.  There is nothing we can do to save it so people must be eliminated.

The Elite Agenda - Depopulation - there are only a few elite rich and powerful folks who will be saved from the coming Apocalypse.  They need to sign up with the evil organization and be saved or be eliminated with the rest of the lemmings.

Christians are Vile, Stupid, Bigots and need to be Destroyed  - The evil test case takes us in to a hate filled church, with rabid Christians spouting filthy words from the pulpit.  Plain looking, inbred congregants gladly cheer on the filth.  Consequently, the sound track to the mass murder scene is "Freebird".  For fun, let's take a Southern Rock Classic about a bird (maybe a dove) and free mankind from the evil Christians.  Even the hero can't resist the call to slaughter.

The Powerful Fighting Woman - The Kingsmen did add a surprising twist in that their superhuman villain enforcer who was a tiny woman with cut off legs - who through her superior legs was able to route any and all trained men who would fight her.

A Chip Implant will Save You - Straight out of the Book of Revelation, the elite have to take the implant chip to be immune from the coming chaos.  In a very sick twist, they end up being the ones destroyed just like in The Book.

A Scarred Savior - Lest it be completely unpalatable to the viewing public, we have the story of a fatherless kid from the wrong side of the tracks emerging as humankind's Savior.

The Nazis Where Not So Bad Agenda - this one is subtle and will fly under the radar for most people.  "Pick your Puppy" was a training and obedience tool purported to be part of training for the Nazi SS, in today's kinder and gentler portrayal of Nazis it is implied that the gun given to the new recruits was full of blanks.

Destroying the Human Race is not Evil - After all, nobody calls Noah a murderer, right?  These noble souls are just like Noah is the rallying cry as the elites wait somberly for the inhabitants of the Earth to destroy themselves.  Their leader gives a rousing speech and encourages them to Party!

The Deviant Sex/Sodomy Agenda - Just for a bonus, the very last shot of the film is of a woman offering her rectum as a reward for the hero saving the world.  Yes, that's right the Savior gets to sodomize a royal princess held in captivity - oh, yeah.

I was furious when we left the theater, sold a bill of goods!  The irony of the entire flick is that the elite are ultimately destroyed in their plot.  The enemy holds these pawns in as deep disdain as everyone else, he knows the future.  I believe that there are higher laws at work right now, a basic spiritual laws that fly under the radar.  You see, the Lord has told us what is going to happen, He has put it in writing and informed all who would read what the future holds.  The devil is bound by the same standard, he also has to tell you what the future holds, the lies that he tells.  Each of the above highlighted themes are lies, designed to destroy those who buy into them but ultimately to condition the public for the coming deception.  The only major theme missing from this drivel was alien intelligence but otherwise, it was all there.  This friends is the plan in a nutshell, this movie has nothing to do with the true King's Men.  Don't be fooled and don't waste your money.  The movie is a loser, just like the spirit behind it.

Feb 4, 2015

The 2015 Super Bowl Through a Christian's Eyes

Abigail and Dolley readers I married a football fanatic; a dyed in the wool, NY Giants #19 jersey wearing, face painting, LT stat quoting, New Jersey boy.  The first fall we were together, I was astounded at how much football a person could watch. Sunday mornings were about "Big Breakfast" and Sport's Center, rarely church.  Then the Panther's came to town and it was about tailgating and games.  In 1997, something happened.... my football fanatic got saved.  For a while he went to games but stopped his covert topless bar forays.  He kept watching but he started looking at coaching decisions, draft picks, and game plans in a more critical light.

In 2004, he led the decision to turn off our cable TV and with it any and all broadcast football.  We have effectively lived for 11 years without it. I write this back story, to properly frame the rest of this blog.  We are not football haters but the time we've spent removed from the game has given us a perspective that many do not have.  It is along that vein that I write about this year's Super Bowl from a spiritual perspective.

The League:

If sports in America is a god, then NFL football is chief among them, the American Zeus.  He commands sacrifice; time, money, and Sunday church.  We give allegiance to the under gods of teams; we wear their colors, we praise them loudly in the stands, we sing songs of worship to them in the form of "fight songs".  We adore the players, devote ourselves to study and commentary, and trust the appointed coaches to "Take us all the way".  It is in this spirit, this environment, that we enter the final frenzy of the year; The Superbowl.  Through discerning eyes this is a train wreck of American Society.  Let's look at each aspect:

The Commercials:

Through the guise of humor and just darn good fun, we see commercials mocking God and creation, poking fun at the coming judgement, elevating false religions of Scientology and Humanism, glamorizing a drug dealer, perpetuation of the coming deception of Alien life forms and super powered humans - throw in a bit of female exploitation and gender confusion and you've got quite a cocktail going!


Now, there were some great ones in the mix:  the Nissan commercial to Cat's in the Cradle, the Dove Real Men Care Commercial, the touching domestic violence pizza delivery call, the dark Nationwide commercial about childhood accidents, the McDonald's pay with love - those were all great.  What I am trying to do is point out the ones that are not, the ones that will fly under the radar, the ones that you might not ever consciously process.

The Half Time Show:

My son was quite keen to watch the half time show.  I was busy in the kitchen but said to him, "Watch for the Satanic signs and tell me what you see."  He rolled his eyes at me, and started watching.  "Hey, look Mom, she's wearing a dress like she's on fire and there is fire all around her.  Oh, and now she's riding some kind of beast with glowing red eyes and she's roaring!  Geez, Mom maybe you are right."

There is some good analysis by the Vigilant Christian and White Rabbit on the occult symbolism in this performance.  The overt reference to the Revelation 17: 3 of the woman riding the Beast, dressed in the fires of hell (Isaiah 66:24) and the roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) well, those are right out of Scripture.  Later, they put dancing beach balls and surf boards all around her because "Hey, this is just good clean fun.  Nothing to see here."  As she sings about kissing girls, skin tight jeans, teenage dreams, and going all the way tonight... nope, nothing to see.

The Game:

I didn't watch it but I observed the hubby and son.  They were bored in the first half, my son went off and read his book.  The second half, something was wrong - it was wrong from the start.  Hubby kept exclaiming, "What are you doing?"  "I can't believe they are throwing the ball!"  "What is going on here?"  "You've got to be kidding me!  That is the worst play calling I have ever seen!" and finally, "WHAT?"  He closed the laptop, "That was just awful.  The NFL... it's just not a good product any more."

The Winner:

By all accounts, the winner of the game was not the better team.  The Patriots did not win the game per se, the Sea Hawks seemed to have lost the game.  There is about the winners an air of cheating, the aura that they are shady, and not all together honest.

In all, there is a microcosm of America today, where the best don't win, where the cheaters come out ahead to everyone's surprise.  Where the evil behind the scenes invades your living room with smiling cartoon trees and catchy pop tunes but then you sprinkle in some of the good, some of what is left of us that is still worth celebrating.

It's sad to watch and for those of us who can see, it's hard to look at.



Jan 31, 2015

Skipping To The End

Abigail and Dolley readers do you skip to the end of a book to find out what happens?  Do you fast forward a movie to the closing scenes?  If you've missed a TV broadcast, do you search for a recap or do you wait for the episode post?  Most folks do not do any of these things, we enjoy vicariously watching others on their journey.  We like the story, the struggle, the growth, and the journey; but most of all we love the happy ending.  We know it's coming so we sit on pins and needles and watch the drama unfold.  Why then, in our own lives, do we want to skip to the end?

Missing Your Life for Work
In our own lives, the struggle is not that much fun.  We want to quickly skip through the pain and get to the good stuff.  Several years ago, Adam Sandler starred in a movie where he found a remote that would speed up his life.  At first, it was a blessing but towards the end it was heart breaking to see the result of a life not lived.  As Christians, the Lord will not allow our story to unfold that way.

In retrospect, most of the time, when we look back we would not trade who we became out of the struggle for an easier time.  Even some of the toughest times, if given long enough will dull in pain and we can see God's hand on us: guiding, forming, and changing.  We choose not to relive but we appreciate the journey.
Waiting in the Wilderness

Friends, I am guilty of fast forward prayers.  I am particularly impatient with long waits and no progress, like the camping section of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Languishing in the wilderness, isolated, confused, and tormented by the voice of the evil one - we desperately seek to escape those times but the Lord will use them for our good if we let Him.  So appreciate the day, enjoy the journey, find joy in today.  As Christians, we hold on to the certainty of a happy ending.

Jan 20, 2015

Not Another "Dear Church" Letter

Abigail and Dolley readers it has become all the rage to write open letters to the church about why people are leaving.  They all go something like this:

"Dear Church - I am leaving you because.... you are hypocrites, your music stinks, you have a big stage show, you don't have a big stage show, you haven't kept up with the times, my needs are not getting met, somebody was mean to me, you ask for money, you stand up for social issues that make people not like you, your ushers wear suits... wah wah wah, whatever."

As a member of a small body, this is what I'd like to say in response:

Dear Church Shopper,

We are not an Entertain Me Church, we are a serving church.  We are the Body of Christ, a working body that feeds people and clothes them.  We support missions and missionaries.  We love each other and we love the Lord.  If one of our members is having a problem, we gather around them and pray but we also give them a gift card to the grocery store and let them borrow a church van while their car is in the shop.  If you would like to come and join us, you are welcome.

We will pray for you and with you.  We will call you by name on Sunday.  We will invite you to Bible Study, Men's Group, Women's Group, Youth Group, Prayer Group, and Kid's Church.  We will ask you to come and join us for a potluck, somebody might even bake you a gluten free cake.  We would love to have you.

We won't however, overhaul our entire system because your old church used to do it that way.  We are sorry if that doesn't meet your needs.

We won't give you your own special ministry when you have not shown up or participated in a single event we already have going on.  We are sorry if that doesn't use your unique gifts and talents.

We will notice if you do not come anymore and might even reach out to ask you back, but we are sorry if one Sunday the Pastor did not hear you when you said good morning.

We won't compromise the Word of God, Jesus is pretty particular about adding or taking away Scripture, we are sorry if that makes us seem intolerant or not hip.

We will walk with you in this life.  We will support you during this journey, we will love you and laugh with you.  We will ask that you walk with us, that you help support us - you see, we are supposed to belong to a Body.  Belonging to a church is like being married, two imperfect beings coming together to love each other and make this life more fulfilling and pleasant.  It takes commitment, it takes love, and it takes forgiveness.

You can keep on church shopping, you can drop out and try to do it alone (even though that is not Biblical), you can watch your favorite preacher on TV every Sunday morning if you'd like - we are not going to force you to come but please do us a favor?  Stop writing letters to us telling us how bad we are and why you aren't coming back, we've got too much work to do.

Sincerely,
Every Small Church in America


Jan 6, 2015

What I've Learned About Grief

Abigail and Dolley readers today we mark the three year anniversary of my Father's passing.  It was a cold, clear, beautiful January day exactly like it is today.  That he should leave us on such a day was a fitting tribute to him, because he was such a light in this world and his personality was bright and warm.  The world is a sadder and darker place without him and there has not been a day that has gone by that I have not missed him and wished he was still here.  I have come to realize a lot of things about grief these last few years and I'd like to share with you some of my lessons.

The first lesson is that everyone has to grieve in their own way.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  A quick internet search will yield many articles on the stages of grief but it is important to realize that they are not linear, predictable, or all inclusive.  A recently bereft person may go through three or four stages a day, some might never feel or experience one of the stages - grief is a personal thing.

Next, grief has it's own timing.  There is no chart that you can concoct that will say, you will grieve X amount of days for the loss of a parent, X amount of days for the loss of a spouse, ect.  It will simply be a personal experience and no amount of time, either personal or arbitrary will change that.  One of the best things I recall reading in the days afterwards were that you only get a chance to grieve right once.  If you try to rush through, push it down, move on before it is time, it will spring up in unexpected ways and times and can truly disrupt or disturb the rest of your life.  So do not rush this process, it will have it's own time whether you like it or not.

The pain closet... We have within our brains a space where we keep our most painful memories.  In the course of everyday life, we can walk by the closet, we know what is in there but we do not open the door.  We do not go inside.  When someone close to you dies, you have to go in there.  You do not have a choice, this loss belongs in that space.  If you are young, the closet might be empty, so you throw the item in there and shut the door.  If the closet is neat and tidy, you can box up this grief, add it to the inventory and get the heck out of there!  Unfortunately, most of us do not have a neat and tidy pain closet.  Some will open the door and an avalanche will ensue.  For those, there they stand with the deepest pain in their life surrounding them and the can not figure out why they are crying over something that happened 30 years before.  Some will shove the new box into the closet and like a traveler sitting on a suitcase will force the bolts closed.  Others may collapse in despair and stay in the closet way too long surrounded by misery.  Still others, will pick up the pieces and arrange them orderly on the shelf because it is the right time and they are strong enough to do it.  Again, each person is going to deal with this differently.

Everyone who loved the deceased has a right to grieve.  This is particularly sticky in the age of divorce or in the case of long term domestic partnerships.  Ex's are not expected to mourn.  If years have passed, it is even more shocking to them and everyone around them if they mourn deeply.  There is a shame in this type of grief, especially if they are remarried.  This was one of the most complicated aspects of the grieving process.

Lastly, people in mourning may react inappropriately, they might say things they should not, they may snap and be angry.  When the fog of grief begins to lift they may deeply regret those things, forgive them.  Be ready though, because it can take you by surprise.

In the end, you never get over it but you learn how to live with it.  If you and your loved ones are believers and followers of Christ, take comfort that you will see them again.  This is the greatest hope and the buttress that has seen me through.  For there is no death for those in Christ, just a brief parting before we join them again.

Jan 5, 2015

Tomboys - Our Girls are in Danger

Abigail and Dolley readers I've been reflecting on Donna Douglas, the starlet who passed away last weekend.  By all accounts, she was a lovely Christian woman of faith and integrity.  Usually, I would read something like this, ponder it for a moment and then move on.  Apparently though, the Lord wanted to bring something to mind and I kept thinking about her.  Over and over again through the weekend, I found I was drawn back to her story and her character of Ellie Mae Clampett.  Then it dawned on me, Ellie Mae was a tomboy and if she were alive today in Hollywood they would turn her from a beautiful young lady into a lesbian/transgender character.

Our Tomboys are in danger.  Girls of yesteryear who were rough and tumble were never told they were boys in girls bodies! We encouraged them to dress and act as girls, most grew up into fine ladies, wives, and mothers.  They did not dress as men and have their breasts cut off and their genitalia mutilated.  It is a dangerous time to be a tomboy today, because somebody is inevitably going to take it and tell those girls that they are lesbians or transgender.  What a truly evil thing to do to a little girl.

Instead, we should encourage them to enjoy catching frogs and building forts.  We should let them get muddy and play sports but we should remind them that they are young ladies.  We should teach them what a wonderful thing womanhood is and how God made her into a special person who will grow up to fulfill His plan for her.

By rejecting God and all His ways, our minds have become depraved and we no longer recognize right from wrong.  If you have a tomboy, nurture her and love her, guide her through this difficult culture.  Pray and the Lord will give you sound guidance and do not sell her out to the lies of the age, protect her.

Dec 24, 2014

The Tribulation Saints

This is one of those tough blogs, that swirl around for weeks or months, with something to be said but with all of the rabbit trails one can go down, it becomes unfocused and muddy.  There is a difference between a research paper, a scholarly article, and a blog; this is most certainly not either of the former so by default must the latter.  My heart has been troubled with thoughts of  the Tribulation Saints.  They are those that come to faith and belief in Jesus Christ as the Messiah after the Rapture of the Church and during the seven year reign of Terror known as the Tribulation.

These people are probably alive right now and may even be reading these words.  They are folks that have heard the gospel and rejected it, those who have never been given the opportunity, or those who have been deceived by a false religion. Some may even profess to be Christians, they may go to church every Sunday, they may even sing in the choir or serve on the church counsel.  Who ever they may be, they have one thing in common, they do not have a real relationship with the Redeemer.

Some say they will wait, there is no hurry, they will come to Christ after the Rapture.  They are fools to count upon that chance, for the Word says those that have rejected the gospel will receive a powerful delusion.  Many will come to faith but do not be deceived, this is no piece of cake.  Believers will be called Tribulation Saints and their time on Earth will be a living hell.

Psalm 27 is a perfect Scripture for those future Tribulation Saints.  It speaks of hiding from enemies, being separated even from mother and father, and depending on the Lord for protection.  For there will come a day when all of the faithful in Israel must flee to a place in the wilderness that the Almighty has prepared for them.  What of the new believers that are not in Israel?  Most will be hunted down and murdered by the Antichrist and the False Prophet's henchmen.  Revelation 6:9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. 10 They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters—their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them.  They have not joined the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, where the Bride of Christ is celebrating for seven years.  These martyrs are waiting for their fellow believers to be murdered.

It is not hard to imagine, like a scene from the Left Behind series, standing in a fortress surrounded by high walls and guards, Tribulation Saints wait on a platform where the executioner beckons them to come.  The spectators mock and shout with exhilarated blood lust as each new believer is murdered.  The air reeks of blood and gore.  Tremulously, at first, a small voice begins to sing.  They clasp hands, drawing strength from each other and the grace and power of the Holy Spirit bolsters their spirits and they sing Jesus Messiah.

What of their eternal status?  They are not the Raptured Church, so they are not the Bride of Christ.  They are not Old Testament Saints, so what of this group of believers?  Where do they fit?  To understand that, you must have a working knowledge of the Millennial Reign.  Briefly, after the battle of Armageddon, Christ will enter Jerusalem victorious and usher in the one thousand year Millennial Reign on the Earth.  The New Jerusalem descends from Heaven and gives light to the world.  Revelation 21 describes in great detail the spectacular city.  The Bible does not say that New Jerusalem touches down, but it does say that it gives light to the world.  Thus it is reasonable to assume that New Jerusalem will reside between the Earth and Heaven.

Since there will still be sin on Earth, (for man's heart is still exceedingly wicked) and no unclean person will be allowed to enter, it is reasonable to speculate that the martyred Tribulation Saints will be the messengers between the two.  Those that survive the Tribulation may be rulers on the Earth, working in King David's administration. The Bible says that says that no believer will die during that age.  One thousand years... if you think about it, if the Rapture is indeed imminent then one could reason that some that are alive on Earth today will live for more than a thousand years just as the patriarchs did in the years before the flood.

In conclusion, while this is an interesting study it is deadly serious.  No one should desire to become a Tribulation Saint, martyred or otherwise.  The Lord calls to you, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.…"

Dec 7, 2014

Why I Stopped Dieting for a Year

Abigail and Dolley readers I have been on a diet since I was 7.  On and off, of course, but for the vast majority of my life I have either been dieting or contemplating the next diet.  The weight struggle is never ending.  Like a gambling addict, I have had some great successes but most have been great failures; the great successes kept me going back for more. I have starved myself, given up entire food groups, counted calories, counted fat, counted carbs, counted fiber, counted points.  I have cleansed and fasted, I have taken medication, and in the last diet gave up wheat, corn, dairy, soy, and even my beloved coffee.  I have punished my body and my mind for not conforming to an ideal it was never made to comfortably be.  So this year, in April, after a particularly grueling diet (for which I lost 3 pounds that I regained while on the diet) I said enough is enough.

I declared that I was not going to diet or get on the scale for a full year.  A full year of not counting anything and not letting the scale determine my self worth.  I began going to a naturalistic doctor who is helping me heal.  I was a bit afraid, all chronic dieters have learned to not trust their own bodies, minds, and instincts.  Would I binge on every cookie and eat a quart of ice cream in one sitting?  I'd done that after a particular "elimination" diet.  To my surprise, I did none of that.

Instead, I eat when I am hungry and I eat what I am hungry for.  I've learned not to over eat because it makes me miserable.  I like fatty food, so instead of avoiding them, I eat a little butter (or as much as I want) and am satiated.  It is a liberating activity to be free to enjoy food and not hate myself for it.  I find that I will crave just the right amount of food for my body.  If I need fruit, the nectarine looks appealing, if I need milk cottage cheese (full fat OMG it is the greatest stuff ever).  When I go to the regular pill writing doctor, I get on the scale backwards and I instruct them not to tell me what I weigh or talk about my weight.

In my current research, I found out that fat isn't bad for you after all.  It turns out milk fat is really good for you.  Cholesterol protects the brain from dementia and that it has nothing to do with heart disease!  All of these things my body instinctively knew, I just chose the "experts" over it.  I chose what society told me to eat and how they told me to look over how God made me.

So, you chronic dieters are wondering, after 8 months, what is your weight doing?  Have you gained a ton?  Have you lost a ton (because if you have then I am going to try THIS new diet, too.)?  Frankly, I don't know.  I'm about the same size that I was 15 years ago.  My clothes still fit the same, I look less swollen, I don't have dark circles under my eyes -  but most of all?  Most of all, I am at ease with food for the first time in my life.  I don't know what I will do when April rolls around, maybe I will go on another diet just to give it a shot or maybe, just maybe, I will have learned to love myself the way that I was made and continue on this grand adventure.

What to eat, what to not eat, does not rule me.  I barely even think about food any longer.  I have freed myself of a bondage that has held me in its grip since I was a kid.  Now, if I could only bring myself to go buy some nice clothes that actually fit, I will declare victory.  One step at a time!

Nov 29, 2014

Red, Chartreuse, Gold Christmas Tree

This year's Christmas Tree has a warm theme.  My trees are normally cool colors but this year we went primarily with red.  The ribbons are wired and secured with floral wire.  Enjoy!


Nov 26, 2014

Heaven is for Real Movie Review

Abigail and Dolley readers last evening I settled down to watch "Heaven is for Real".  I came away with mixed emotions about the film.  Like much Christian entertainment these days it is Laodicean in it's theology, neither hot nor cold and thus unpalatable. There were times during the latter half of the film that I wondered if these folks on the screen were even Christians!  The total lack of Biblical understanding filled me with consternation and in the end serves no one.

We are so "seeker friendly" that we don't tell seekers the truth!  Afraid to offend and drive off anyone, we soft sell their eternal destiny so we don't hurt their feelings or make them uncomfortable.  This is dangerous theology friends.  "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

There are some positive elements to the film.  I enjoyed the depiction of a believable Christian family.  The husband and wife have a real marriage, with tenderness, struggles, compassion, and physical affection.  The family sings bible songs in the car and then rocks out to Queen in the next breath.  Financial pressures are real and so is compassion for people going through difficult times.  People of faith suffer in this life, the pastor broke his leg and then subsequently suffered terribly with kidney stones.  The depiction of this suffering rang true.  The fellowship of the church body at the beginning of the film is heart warming, it shows a true caring Christian family.  The call to prayer when Colton was sick and in the hospital brought me to tears.  To see the Body of Christ respond as intercessors before the Lord was powerful.  The first half of the film was fantastic.

The second half?  Not so much.  Filled with real questions about belief, the Pastor and his congregation go through a seeking journey that is more suited to those who have never believed in Christ.  This journey is fine and necessary for those who have not professed Christ as their Savior but is troubling in this context because what in the world do these people believe?  They seem to struggle with basic doctrine, what is salvation and how do we achieve it?  Is the Word of God true and correct?  Do we actually believe in Christ or is this just a social club?

The scene at the graveyard is particularly troublesome.  The pastor tells the grieving mother that he has nothing for her.  He admits that he did not say or do anything to comfort her at the death of her 19 year old son.  What?  It isn't difficult, this is Christianity 101 and these folks are treating it like it is a deep mystery.

I surmise they had a Believer direct the first part of the film and a Seeker the second.  A moving film in the beginning had my brow furled in the end.  Instead of clearly presenting the truth of the Gospel which is in order to go to Heaven you must confess your sins, accept the death, resurrection, and atonement of the death of Christ for your sins.  You must accept that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and ask Him into your heart and your life.  There is no other way to the Father except through the Son.  That is straight up truth and it isn't complicated.  Instead, the film says to the seeker that God loves us and that is enough to get us into Heaven.  If that were true then why did Jesus have to die?

I must conclude, that indeed "Heaven is for Real" but this movie and it's theology are not.

Nov 18, 2014

Bias Check

Recently, I have begun a mental exercise that has proven quite enlightening.  The exercise is about finding my own bias.  We all have a worldview and critical thinking demands that we understand this in ourselves and others.  We are passionate about things we care about - plain and simple.  If there is an injustice against someone or something we value then we are more apt to give that situation weight.  If we inherently do not like the person or the cause, even if the same injustice occurs, we will not feel the same.  A well balanced person, must recognize this in themselves.

Brit Hume, the Washington Journalist, was the first person I ever heard speak about media bias in a way that made it seem less insidious.  Check out this video, it gives you the gist of his take on this issue:

So here's the exercise:  If I read a headline or the major issue of the day, I reverse the characters in the story.  If I still care about it then I recognize that the outrage is justified, if I become more apathetic then I realize it is my own bias kicking in.

I invite you to do the same, I think if all of us begin to think critically, without our inherent bias about right and wrong we may begin to make progress.  Here are some examples:

Lena Dunham is someone I find quite repellent under normal circumstances, she recently wrote a book and conservatives were in an uproar about some of the stories she told about her sister.  I was completely grossed out.  I used my bias trick and substituted Bristol Palin, who is someone I view in a positive light.  When I did that, I was still creeped out but did not view it with the vehemence I did when it was someone that I disagreed with.

I inherently do not care for President Obama.  When I hear a story about him that makes me crazy, I substitute Ronald Reagan in the story to see if I still care.  Most of the time, I can catch my party bias this way.  

At the end of the day, we are all biased.  We all approach circumstances or stories with our own preconceived notions of what is right and what is wrong.  We care about things that are important to us, this is perfectly all right but we must be honest with ourselves, we must critically think, we must look at ourselves with true glasses.  If we do this, we obtain a self awareness sorely lacking in Reality TV America.
  

Nov 2, 2014

Magic

Abigail and Dolley readers I have always loved magical stories.  As a child, I ate up Patricia Coombs, Dorrie the Little Witch books.  I was an avid fan of Betwitched and I Dream of Jeannie, stories of fantasy sparked my imagination and I knew that if I just thought happy thoughts that I was going to fly like Wendy in Peter Pan.  I went through the wardrobe with CS Lewis and fought trolls with the Hobbit.  As an adult, I fell in love with Harry Potter.  In the last few years, my favorite stories are from the Outlander series which has element of mystery and magic.  If I am honest, my vision of Heaven gives me some cool powers like flying or touching a plant and making it grow.  I see magic in the world, I see magic in my God but we are forbidden from witchcraft, sorcery, and divination, so I have always struggled with this part of me that just loves magic.

God doesn't deal in falsehoods so His prohibition against such things by the very nature of the prohibition tells me that this stuff is real.  In the end, my fantasy magic is just that, fantasy.  Real magic, real witches, real divination - well that's something all together different.  Those practices, whether the practitioner will admit or not, are grounded in evil.  So, if we stay away from the real thing I am not going to sweat it too much that I like the tales.

I have to admit though, certain times during magical tales I think, "Man, they need to pray."  Because in the end there doesn't seem to be room for God in these tales.  There is a scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Mr. Weasley is critically injured.  In the book, they are fretting and pacing and worrying but they are not praying - that struck me.  I've read some fantasy romances where they are fighting evil but they are not fighting with the only weapon we are given, the Word.  NBC has a new show, Contantine, and there is such a twisted theology abounding in the story it's hard to watch.  How do you fight the devil without the Lord?
Several authors have written great books that capture the magic from the Christian worldview.  This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti changed my life, by changing the way that I viewed everything.  Ted Dekker has written some great thrillers, Blink being one of my favorite to demonstrate the power of prayer.  There is magic all around us, there is power in our prayers and we DO serve a supernatural God.  We need not exchange the counterfeit for the real, I just wish there was more real well done stuff in the market.

Oct 25, 2014

The Hectic Life of a Sports Family

Abigail and Dolley readers, today let's talk about something touchy, sports.   (Take a little ride with me, this is a not an attack on anyone but more of a dramatized tale.  Just pretend that I am the "Ghost of Christmas Present".  Even if your experience is not this extreme, perhaps you can find some truth in the below.)  Sports... the great American pastime, it evokes images of camaraderie, cheering spectators, and life's lessons learned on the ball field.  Just good plain fun, but is that the honest truth in today's world?  An idealized view of modern sports drive behavior and decision making in American families.  We maniacally throwing our children into one activity after the next, all in pursuit of a sports fantasy.  For countless families, the reality is far from fantastic.

In the not so distant past, kids played a variety of different sports.  Sports had seasons and kids moved from one season to another, not settling on a single sport until their late high school years, if ever.  This variety taught them different skill sets, types of movement, tempos, and paces.  Multiple sports insured kids had different friends, coaches, and experiences. Sports were a balanced part of a well rounded childhood, where the family did not revolve around the child or his activities. Today, it is widely believed and practiced that parents should select their "kid's sport" by age eight.  Once chosen, then the wholehearted investment, commitment/pressure, and expenses begin.  These kids embark on a journey of conditioning seasons during the heat of the Summer, special camps, travel teams, year round sports, clinics, personal trainers, and position coaches - for ten year olds.

Let's consider the time.  Public school demands more time from your child's life than ever before - 38 hours a week from bus ride to bus ride + homework.  Then we drag these kids to hours of sports practices and games.  Frazzled moms yell at tired kids to do their homework on the one hour commute to the "away" game and not get fast food mustard on the seat.  Are you tired yet?  Wait, there's more.  Now multiply this scenario by the number of kids, who play different sports, have different practice times, and different locations.  Mom takes one kid and Dad takes the other.  Other relatives are recruited and this insanity bleeds over into households that don't even have children.   Add in Scouts, Dance, Music, and Art because they need to be well rounded.  The truth is we try to give our kids everything that we wanted and didn't get.  Recently, I overheard a lady comment to a boy, "Where've you been, Justin?  We haven't seen you in weeks."  The young boy shook his head, sighed, and said, "I've had 11 games in the last 14 days."  This conversation took place as the 7th grade Junior Cotillion class that was dismissing at 8:30 pm.   That 12 year old boy had put in a 13 hour day and I'd bet he still had homework.

So we've got time and hectic schedules, now top this off with money... the cost of a single season on an elite soccer travel team in my community is $3000 plus equipment, plus all travel expenses.  Even church recreation leagues are $200 for a short 6 week game season.  The more elite the team, the more money, time, and commitment are required.  The family budget suffers tremendously for this pursuit.

The kids are having a great time, right?  Really? Even when the kids are enjoying themselves and the rigorous schedules, this lifestyle is having a negative effect on them. Consider this, scientists are now discovering their physical development is stunted by some single sport training. Concussion risks and long term neurological damage have gotten press in recent years but the full extent of the problem and the long term consequences are far underestimated.  What a single concussion does to the developing brain of an eleven year old could be catastrophic.  In our society we demand more:  more school, more games, more practice and something has to give.  In the end, it's often adequate rest.  Our frantic children are chronically sleep deprived which effects their mental, physical, and emotional health.

Well, it all worth it in the end, right?  The games are so much fun for everybody, right? Maybe, but here's a cast of characters that can be found at just about any field or gym in America.  First, let's talk about "Pinterest" Team Mom who makes up goody snack bags that are adorned with handcrafted curlicue personalize tags for each player.
There is the maniacal crazy Mom screaming at the coach, her kid and yours, and the referee.  Don't forget the over zealous team Dad running down the sidelines coaching his kid along the way.  Then, there is the berating parent, who humiliates his kid in front of everyone.  There's Business Parent pacing along the chain link fence in their business suit and blackberry, "Look at me, I'm so important at work that I have to take this call and can't watch the game, but give me props for showing up." (God forgive me, that was me...)  Finally, there's the forlorn sibling, asleep on the top bleacher wearing her grass stained softball uniform.  Her game is over but she has to wait for her brother's game to finish.  She's been up since 6:00 am, so she's dreaming of her own bed and wishing it was Sunday Morning so she could just sleep in. Well maybe, many teams now are holding games on Sunday.

Let's not leave out the organizers, coaches, and referees.  There are stories of corrupt referees; paid off by the other teams rich sponsor or booster club.  We have the "Home" referee who is going to insure that his team wins.  The other team reciprocates with their "Home" referee because all is fair in Middle School Football.  Some coaches appear to have their sole mission in life to win.  Not to teach, not to have fun, but to win at all costs.  Their self esteem seems to hinge on this 5 year old peewee football game.  They will exhaust the good players and never cycle in marginal kids.  They won't throw the football because their is risk involved, thus leaving out important parts of game play because their only objective is to win.  There are Little League Commissions that fix the teams, the schedules, and the recruiting; they fail to discipline abusive coaches.  In our personal experience, we've encountered a number of cheater coaches who throw tantrums and quit in the middle of a game.  We've seen flag football coaches instruct their players to tackle.  We've seen soccer coaches laugh and applaud when their 7 year old boy players run over 5 year old girls but have a melt down if they get a taste of their own medicine.  These coaches and parents give lip service to sportsmanship and having fun, but many will relish the opportunity to cheat if they can get away with it, winning at all cost.  Don't think for a minute the kids don't see it, they aren't stupid.

Our family has chosen not to play in these reindeer games.  At one point, we were a Sport's Family, well, the light version anyway.  My husband coached a number of teams that our son played on, plus martial arts.  Middle School demanded more time and our son made the decision to quit his other activities and stick with Martial Arts.  We periodically investigate putting him back in one sport or the other because he is a great athlete.  There is part of us that buys into the sports fantasy, too!  We just can't seem to find anything that doesn't require a significant hit to the pocketbook and a part time job for us and our kid.  He's past the time when kids have "their sport" and everything is deadly serious and expensive.  I do not want to spend 18 hours per week driving back and forth to practices, I just don't and these days there isn't an extra $650 laying around.  As a result, we're on the outside looking in to this strange child-centric sports culture.

In the end, we have a cross roads of a sports crazy culture that intersects with a child centered culture and this is what you get. Does anybody stop to consider what this is doing to a family?  What does it do to little kids?  Why have Americans in large numbers chosen to live this lifestyle?  What do we sacrifice?  I'll tell you, we sacrifice down time, time to be quiet and to think.  We sacrifice reading and learning.  We sacrifice wholesome home cooked family meals.  We exhaust our children by filling their days with structured and supervised activities - they do not learn to entertain themselves or create their own fun.  We speed from activity to activity never measuring the financial, personal, and emotional cost.  We sacrifice our kid's health, from sleep deprivation, to repetitive movement injuries, to concussions.  Never doubt this frenetic pursuit is having an effect on your child.  Finally, we sacrifice our time with the Lord.  We give our children Sunday morning to sleep, since it's the only day of the week they don't have to get up and run around.  We don't take them to church anymore because our priorities lie with sports, our new god.

Where do your priorities lie?  It's pretty easy to see, "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."

(This video clip gives insight into what we adults do to kids.  Warning Strong Language)



Oct 8, 2014

The Evolutionist World View of the Stars

Abigail and Dolley readers I was up early this morning to watch the second Lunar Eclipse of the Blood Moon Tetrad.  It was a glorious display but alas we live in a small valley with huge trees to the west and we lost sight of it about 6:40am.  Being an enterprising gal, I pulled up a live stream and watched it online.

One of the sites had commentators and I immediately had to mute them!  The evolutionist worldview came through in the first sentence they spoke.  It was entirely too early in the morning for yet another display of a lost world.  The exchange went like this."Well, I would not say the ancient Jews were astronomers, that's taking it a bit too far."

Boom - in one sentence the entire worldview is summed up.  First, the evolutionist thinks that ancient man was not as intelligent as he, the modern man, is.  The evidence, though, contradicts that assumption.  Archaeologists are constantly amazed at the complexity and intelligence they see in ancient ruins and civilizations.  If you read the articles, they are astounded by what they find and they can't quite wrap their worldview around the facts.  Second, the evolutionist ascribes the wisdom of the ancient Jews to the people themselves instead of the Creator.  By down playing the discoveries they deny both the Jews and their God.
Stairway to Heaven Nebula
Modern astronomers must struggle daily with the vast beauty before them.  The perfection of the universe, the complexities and the order displayed in the Heavens have for centuries drawn Man to God.  We instinctively know in our hearts, from the time we are children, that God is up there.  We lift our eyes in prayer, we lift our hands in praise, we gaze at the stars above and feel the vastness of the Creator.  I feel sorry for these scientists, the daily hardening of their hearts, the denial of God to His very face, must certainly take a toll on them.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.…

Sep 29, 2014

The Reckoning

As the world spirals ever downward and the signs of the times manifest on an hourly basis, I am utterly astounded at the slumber most of the population is in.  I am burdened beyond measure to shout at the top of my lungs that people need to wake up, Wake Up, WAKE UP!  The enemy of your soul is at the gate and this unhinged world bent on self satisfaction is gladly ushering him in.

There is no coincidence that in vampire lore evil needs permission to enter your house.  Thus too, supernatural evil requires permission and society is beckoning it in with exultation.  Dressed as a sexy angel, the foolish world celebrates the fleshly desires evil brings with him.  They are drunk on the blood of innocents and scoff at the most High God day and night.  

Do you feel the shaking?  Do you hear the howling wind?  Do you sense the storm raging?  For the unseen is greater than the seen and wicked and dying men are blind to the calamity approaching.  A faithful and merciful God calls for the lost to repent and the remnant cry continuously in the streets, "Repent, return to God for judgement is coming if you do not."  

Deluded men say to themselves, "I am a good person, I have nothing to repent for."  This is a lie, for judged against the standards of perfection we fall short.  We have lived in a society for so long that tries to understand and excuse evil that we are no longer conflicted or convicted in ourselves or others.  We make excuses for everything we do: Well, I was depressed when I abused those drugs.  I was lonely so I slept around.  I was can not be held accountable,  I was born this way.  The rationalizations are as endless as the sins they seek to excuse.  We all do it, our self esteem depends on it.  Our society has taught us that it is harmful to blame ourselves and injure our self esteem but I say the opposite is true.

"If we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  Do you understand what that means?  That means that instead of making excuses and covering up for ourselves, we can be free of the bondage of sin and death, we can be cleansed and made whole.  We can be right with God and justified through faith in the Son, Jesus Christ.  

You are not damned unless you chose it.  God does not consign anyone to Hell, people chose it themselves.  They shake their fist at God, harden their hearts, and perish of their own volition.  For since the beginning of your life, "God has made himself known to you, through the rocks, the trees, the flowers, that at the end no man will be without excuse."  Seek the Lord, Repent, we have entered the time of the Reckoning.

Sep 27, 2014

Modern Idolatry


When I was in second grade, the highlight of the week was Wednesday!  The retired Senior Pastor would teach our weekly Old Testament Bible class.  He was a gentle man who was a great story teller, he wove pictures and told tales that came alive in imaginations.  We cheered the victories of the heroes and hung our heads in shame at their failures.  His stories about the Patriarchs, Moses, the Judges, and the Kings were fascinating.

The Old Testament is full of heroes and miracles but it is also full of idol worship.  Idol worship is strange to the modern mind, it seems silly.  As a kid, I always thought that I would never fall victim to all of the sins of the Israelites.  I mean who bows down to a cow statue, right?  I thought idolatry was dead, but is it?

Idolatry is anything you love more than you should, where you devote your passion, your time, your money, and your thoughts.  Often your devotion will become part of who you are, your defining characteristic and part of how other people describe you.  Think about it for a second, what is the first adjective that comes out of someone's mouth describing your character?  Do they say: "He's an Executive", she's a "Sports Mom" or "She's in great shape"?  How do you describe yourself?  Be honest, what's the first adjective that you use?  How are you defining yourself?.

Now take it even deeper, what do you love?  Do you love your company, your work, your team, your children, your body?  Do you love them more than God?  Do you chose that activity over attending regular worship?  Will you drag yourself out of a sick bed to go to a game but pull the covers over your head for church?  Are you spending evenings reviewing spread sheets and reports but haven't picked up your Bible in years?  Will you drive two hours for a business appointment but not set aside a lunch hour a month to go to a men's Bible Study? Will you drive your exhausted children to football practice four days a week but let them sleep in on Sunday?

Where are your priorities?  Because, my Friends, I will tell you idolatry is not dead, it just wears a new face.  It has a business suit, a yoga bra. or a sports jersey, it might even be looking back out you out your selfie.  Is it in your children, who you try to give a perfect life free of the pain and failure you experienced as a kid?

The first two commandments state, you shall have no other God's before me and you shall not worship idols.  My friends, we are a nation that puts money, business, ourselves and sports above God.  We worship at the alter of the Dow Jones and fret over every jobs report.  We ecstatically worship in arenas, stadiums, and high school football bleachers and turn our noses up in disdain if the person beside us in church lifts their hand in worship and praise.  We care for our bodies in such a way that we are afraid to eat Salmon that has swum by a Salmon farm for fear of contamination.  We have become shallow, lame, and utterly boring in our inward focus and our worldly worship.

We are a world of idolaters who thumb our noses at the Most High God.  We are a world ripe for judgement.  We are a world of scoffers and idolaters.  God will not be mocked, HE will not stand idly by forever.  Our world has been under a series of judgments for decades and they have escalated since 9/11.  I truly believe a third major judgement will soon befall this world soon if we do not repent and turn back to God.

We can not as individuals control the disintegration of this present darkness but we can change our own hears, we can change our families.  I implore you to look inside, look deeply inside, judge yourself harshly, judge yourself by the standard of perfection - look upon your life, repent, and change.  Ask God to be merciful to you and to your Nation.  Ask for His healing, return to Him.  He loves you, He'll take you back.

Sep 14, 2014

Convergence of Signs

Abigail and Dolley readers you might recall that last Summer I did a pretty extensive study on the Feasts of the Lord, the Blood Moons, Rosh Hashanah, and the Rapture.  We are gearing up again for the Fall Feasts and my expectations continue to mount that we are truly living in the last days.  The Church is admonished to keep looking up that our redemption draws nigh.  Here are some compelling reasons that seem to mark a convergence of prophetic signs, a gathering together of momentum and circumstances:

Signs in the Heavens - Blood Moons, Super Moons, Solar Eclipses, Meteors, Sun Spots, Magnetic Polar reversals, just to name a few.

Wars and Rumors of Wars - Ukraine and Russia and the Middle East are exploding

Right is Wrong and Wrong is Right - the utter reversal of what is considered good, right, and moral is astounding.

Men will become lovers of self - five years ago we did not even have a term for taking a picture of yourself, now the pervasive selfie has littered the landscape and promoted ever increasing levels of narcissism.

Pestilence - I am third or fourth line in the fight against the Ebola virus.  I can not even convey how awful this situation is right now and getting worse.

Earthquakes - The USGS has stopped keeping this chart, it would alarm the public if they were to put this out in a twitter style graphic.  You can see for yourself that up until 2000 earthquakes over 6.0 remained infrequent.  This year, 2014 we have had over 114 earthquakes over 6.0.



Convergence of numeric and prophetic dates - God is orderly, He does not do things in a haphazard manner and thus, if we can observe patterns from history we can extrapolate and observe the way He has worked in the past.  Since God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow we can rely on the constancy.

7 days of Creation
7 days of the Week.
The laws of Sabbath for the land are arranged in 7 year increments
7 Sabbath years times 7 = Jubilee years
The Jews stayed in exile 70 years. (the number of Sabbath years they did not uphold)
Daniel 9 lays out 490 weeks (years) for the redemption of Israel.
One week remains of Daniel's weeks, one 7 year period
The Tribulation is 7 years
Yom Kippur 2015 is 49 years to the day of Jerusalem's recapture by Israel
Rosh Hashanah 2015 marks the end of a Sabbath year.  (Historically a devastating day/year financially)
The final blood moon takes place on the Feast of Tabernacles 2015

Conclusion, I am not naming dates but it is a compelling fact that all of these things are indeed converging.  There are hundreds more signs, hundreds more studies and nuances that can be brought to bear, I simply wanted to lay out for you simple facts and observations.  It is the Lord's deepest desire that all will come to faith in Him, that none should perish.  Chose this day who you will serve for tomorrow is promised to no one.

Sep 9, 2014

Yom Kippur 2015

Abigail and Dolley readers, last Summer, I spent a tremendous amount of time in the Word, studying the Feasts of the Lord and the coming Blood Moon Tetrads.  During that research, I came upon an interesting fact that I jotted down but never fully developed.  For the last few weeks, that fact has been niggling my brain.  Today, I finally got out my notebook, flipped through the pages and found that I had written:

June 7th 1967 - Jerusalem (recaptured for Israel)
17640 days = 49 years
9/23/15 - Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)

This was very early on in my studies that largely ended up focusing on the Blood Moons and Rosh Hashanah, I noted the fact was interesting and proceeded forth with my work and my studies.  So, today when I started looking at this I began to think, what is significant about 49 years?

Well, 49 is a derivative of 7 which we know is God's number of completeness
We know that every 7 years there is declared a shemittah (Sabbatical year)
49 years is 7 shemittah (Sabbatical years)
49 years follows a 50th year, which is the year of Jubilee

So what does Scripture say about the shemittah year?  Lev. 25:3-4 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruits thereof; but in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath unto Jehovah: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.

The Jubilee is ordained by God in Leviticus 24:8-10. And you shall count for yourself seven sabbatical years, seven years seven times. And the days of these seven sabbatical years shall amount to forty nine years for you.  You shall proclaim [with] the shofar blasts, in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month; on the Day of Atonement, you shall sound the shofar throughout your land.   And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year, and proclaim freedom [for slaves] throughout the land for all who live on it. It shall be a Jubilee for you, and you shall return, each man to his property,_ and you shall return, each man to his family.

What a glorious event!  The word is for yesterday, today, and tomorrow and the year of the Jubilee sounds like prophecy fulfilled to me.  So when is the next Jubilee year?

"According to biblical law, the Jubilee is only observed when all twelve tribes of the Jewish nation are living in Israel, as is derived from the verse,1 “And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year, and proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live on it,” which implies that the Jubilee is only sanctified when “all who live on it”—meaning, all who are meant to be living there—are in the Land of Israel. Furthermore, the Jubilee is only observed when every tribe is living in the specific part of the land which was it was allotted when the Land of Israel was divided." (Source Chabad.org)

We know from history that the Jubilee was never kept by Israel, at least not on a large scale, and then it was too late.  The Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom in 740 BC and when that happened the twelve tribes were not in place to celebrate the Jubilee, even if they had wanted to.  While there was no Biblical requirement to continue the Jubilee and thus has not been marked or celebrated.  Conversely, the shemittah year continues to be observed and we are moving into one on Rosh Hashanah 2014.

So the Jubilee is a prophecy, a structure for the land of Israel that was foreordained by God.  It will be the structure of rule in the Messiah's kingdom, when at last God's people will obey and trust the Lord.

The promise of the Jubilee is eagerly awaited, when the land shall rest and when the people will be restored to their lands in accordance with God's plan.  Leviticus continues with the Lord's promise to Israel  "You shall perform My statutes, keep My ordinances and perform them then you will live on the land securely.  And the land will then yield its fruit and you will eat to satiety, and live upon it securely".  For it is only through God's divine protection and provision will Israel ever live in security in the land He has given them.

This video greatly encompasses where I am coming from:


Aug 5, 2014

Guilty

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.  Romans 1:20


Consider this word:  Guilty... We all know what that word FEELS like.  Some only feel guilty after they have been caught, some feel guilty when they shouldn't but we are all have been guilty.  Remember what it was like to stand before your parents, trembling with the knowledge that you were guilty of something or other.  The flush to the face, the quiver inside your wame, and the shame you feel.  Think of standing in front of a perfect, omnipotent, and holy God - guilty.  

For God's justice demands perfection and because mankind was unable to achieve that perfection he did it for us through the death and resurrection of his Son.  He pursues you, He reveals Himself to you, He loves you, He gives you every chance.

If you have no desire for God, you are indeed in a desperate place.  If you scoff at the notion, it may already be too late because you "have no excuse for not knowing God".

Jul 29, 2014

Outlander - Episode 1

Abigail and Dolley readers I have been a serious fan of two series in my life:  Harry Potter and Outlander.  Both are extraordinary works that invite the reader to reside within the pages and are full of  nuggets that the author assumes their readers are intelligent enough to understand, research, or just skim over in pure enjoyment of the work.  By trusting the reader, these talented authors both built worlds with fleshed out characters, plot lines, and  rich detailed worlds that invite you in and surprise you with the vividness of the experience.   So if you haven't read the books, do yourself a favor and start.  Don't blame me if you stay up too late!


This blog is dedicated to the fans who have waited 20 plus years to see Outlander come to the screen.  I was privileged to see an advanced screening of episode one tonight and here are some of my observations.

  • Faithful adaptation - You will not watch the show and wonder what they have done to you beloved novel.  Pelican Brief and the Firm by John Grisham comes to mind, they bore no resemblance to the books and suffered greatly for their divergence from the source material.  Outlander is faithful.
  • Stunning Production - the light, the score, the filming, the acting, the editing, the authenticity - beyond my expectations!  
  • Characterization - spot on, true magic.
I find myself envious of the legions of fans who will experience Outlander for the first time and get to discover the series.  For the devotee, you will not be disappointed!

Jul 2, 2014

The Occult in Plain Sight

The Occult Forest
What comes to mind when I say, "The Occult".... visions of Satanists dressed in black robes, chanting in the deep woods, around a human sacrifice?  Perhaps you see a fortune teller or a voodoo witch doctor performing some spell in a basement around a bubbling cauldron?  These are the obvious and overt images that make up the idea of what the occult is, but what if it is more than that?

What if the occult is in the music that you listen to or the neighbor you are BBQing with this weekend?  What if that sorority/fraternity or social club you are involved with actually has its roots in the occult?  What if your friend has decided to join a secret society?
If you are like me, you simply shrug a shoulder, raise an eyebrow, and shake your head because really, the occult IS that witch doctor not your neighbor.

Ouija Board
"Yeah, sure, they do these hokey ceremonies at the fraternity but it's just part of the tradition and we laugh while we are doing it, nobody takes that stuff seriously, right?"
"I love that band and raise my hand in the sign of the I love Rock and Roll while I am banging my head, big deal, it's just a song."
"My neighbor has invited me down to the lodge, those are some really great fellows down there, I'm going to join to make friends."
"It's a Milton Bradley game for Christ's sake, what harm can a Ouija board do?"

Satanic Symbol
You, my friend, have now had a run in with the occult.  So what, you might ask, and given the seeming innocence of the scenarios I have described above, I don't blame you for that opinion.

Follow me for just a second, if you do an act, say punch somebody in the face but you do it while having fun, have you still punched that person in the face?  If you are singing a prayer to Satan but don't mean it, haven't you still said the prayer?  If your lodge has a ceremony that has it's roots in Dark Magic but you make a farce out of it, haven't you still done the ritual?

In a country that denies or minimizes the Supernatural the answer is still Ho Hum.  We have become conditioned by the Humanist point of view that truth is what we believe it to be.  If we don't believe these things have supernatural significance then they don't, but what if you are wrong?  What if, as the Bible tells us, that the unseen is greater than the seen? (2 Cor 4:18)  What if while you are joking around in your ceremony there are those hidden in another room who take what you are doing very seriously and are invoking curses and demons on your life?
Sorority Ritual

There are rules and laws in the Supernatural and if you give the enemy permission to move into your life, he is going to accept the invitation and once he's in, don't expect him to behave.  Don't expect because this was a joke in your eyes that it is a joke in his.  Are you angry now for no reason?  Has your baby daughter gotten sick?  Has pornography begun to take hold in your life?  Does Scripture make you cringe?  These could all be signs you have an unwelcome visitor in your life.  The Lord does nothing in secret, there should be no secret societies who serve the Risen Christ, yet Satan will always scheme in secrecy.
High Priest Apron
The good news is that there is a way free of this bondage.  Cry out to the Lord for salvation and deliverance.  Repent and stop doing the things that have brought the enemy into your life and you will be free by the Power of the Holy Spirit and the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, I encourage you to find a local evangelical ministry to help you break free of the bondage of the enemy and find salvation and freedom in the Lord.

Jun 24, 2014

Parable of the Ten Virgins - Who are the Bridesmaids?

Abigail and Dolley readers I have been contemplating the parable of the Ten Virgins as outlined in Matthew 25 1:13 which reads, 1 "The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish took no oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all lay down and slept. 6 At midnight they were roused by the shout, 'Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and welcome him!' 7 "All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, 'Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.' 9 But the others replied, 'We don't have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.' 10 "But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, 'Sir, open the door for us!' 12 But he called back, 'I don't know you!' 13 "So stay awake and be prepared, because you do not know the day or hour of my return.

For the purpose of this blog, I'd like to examine who the bridesmaids are in the parable.  For many years, I heard that the bridesmaids are the church at the time of the Rapture but it is interesting to note that the church is the Bride, not the Bridesmaid. So then, who are the Bridesmaids and what can we learn from that distinction?  Gene Lawley has written a fantastic commentary on this subject and encourage you to read his words, for much of this blog is based upon his work and insight.
The Bridesmaids
The Bridesmaids served several purposes in ancient Jewish marriages. They were to help prepare the bride for the return of the groom.  Once the groom arrived to consummate the marriage they would serve as witnesses to the bride's virginity.  Finally, they would walk by night with the wedding party to the home of the groom where the celebration would occur.  Thus, completing their support and service to the bride.

So who is supposed to support the church?  Ephesians 4:11-16, 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro , and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness *, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part *, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Thus, we have five folks who are supposed to serve as bridesmaids:

Apostles or Apostolos (Greek) - a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders
specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ
in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers

Prophets or Prophetes (Greek) - in the religious assemblies of the Christians, they were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak, having power to instruct, comfort, encourage, rebuke, convict, and stimulate, their hearers

Evangelists or Euaggelistes (Greek) - a bringer of good tidings, an evangelist, the name given to the NT heralds of salvation through Christ who are not apostles

Pastors or Poimen (Greek) - shepherd who were to watch for enemies trying to attack the sheep - to defend the sheep from attackers - to heal the wounded and sick sheep - to find and save lost or trapped sheep - to love them, sharing their lives and so earning their trust.

Teachers or Didaskolos (Greek) - teachers of the word of God.

Thus, it can be extrapolated that the Bridesmaids in the parable are the true and the false apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.  For all those who corrupt the word of God and teach false gospels that tickle men's ears are the unfaithful bridesmaids and will not make it into the kingdom of Heaven.  Look around, these false bridesmaids are everywhere.