Dagon and our children

A post on social media this past week announced the Temple of Satan is revealing an eight foot high statue of Satan in Detroit. It originally was to be on display in Oklahoma City, but when the monument of the Ten Commandments was removed, the plan for the statue changed. I viewed the picture of it, and showed it to my children. One questioned the face and horns. The other commented on Satan being an angel of light, and shouldn’t God make him ugly now. My husband referred to the snake crawling on his belly after seducing Adam and Eve, but we know that the devil is deceptively beautiful. The most disturbing thing in the depiction of the statue to me was the gaze of the children standing at the knee of the image. Should any human, let alone children, be that close to the archenemy of God?

When I first read the article, God reminded me of a story in the Old Testament of the Ark of the Covenant and the Philistines. When the Philistines captured the Ark and brought it home, they put it in Dagon’s house. I smile as I recall the Philistines discovered the next morning that the statue Dagon had fallen over on its face before the Ark of the Lord. The Philistines set the statue upright once more. The next morning it had fallen yet again, and its hands and head had broken off! (1 Samuel 5) The story goes on of the Philistines suffering from tumors and deciding the ark had to go!

In my meditation of the Word and the news, I wondered what would have happened if that bronze tribute had been put in Oklahoma City with the Ten Commandments’ monument. No, the commandments do not represent the presence of God as the ark did, but what if God had done a mighty “slam that statue on its face” move? I am sure the unbelievers would have quickly blamed human intervention. I, however, know that God is going to do just that one day. As Isaiah reiterates, He is going to let it be known once and for all that He is the one true God. There will be no question and no time to change one’s allegiance at that point.

Back to the horrifying inclusion of children in this bronze depiction of the “accuser of the brethren”, I reminded my children of the story of Dagon. I let them know once again there is one true God, and He is on the throne. He is coming again. The condition of this world is further indication the Word of God is true; it accurately depicts our days. Unfortunately, I find it necessary to discuss the evil of the world with our children. The hour is late, and I don’t want them deceived. I don’t want them gazing at lies. Share truth daily, hourly if you can. As my pastor says, Gabriel is licking his lips preparing to sound the trumpet. I don’t want any child left behind, yours or mine.

Burning within me,

JOY!

 

Our children!

The Bible truth God-fearing Christian parents are teaching their children is being rebuked and buffeted by social media, the press, public school, the government, and the list goes on. The recent changes in definitions and prejudices are resounding alarms. What are we going to do?

Can I recite to you what Adrian Rogers preached? Keep in mind his death was in 2005.

We have substituted tolerance for truth, values for virtue, competency for character, and compromise for courage.

That is an accurate a description for today as I have found, and it was stated by a man who has already been gone a decade.

We must be more diligent than ever to instill truth in our kids, teens, babies, whatever their age. The truth is God’s Word. Don’t allow truth to be silenced in the intimidating days of being labeled intolerant. Parent, harp on being virtuous; help them maintain their purity. There is every evil lurking outside and inside your home to steal your child’s innocence. Teach character does matter. It matters if one lies, cheats and/or steals. A record of success is not a valid indicator of whether to follow, support or elect a leader. An individual’s personal life is an indicator of the integrity in his professional life. It is not admirable to lay down dearly held beliefs in God and His Word in the vein of protecting another’s feelings. Courage is standing for what is right.

Believe it or not the above paragraph is deemed ignorant, backwards and bigotry in today’s society.

“All of Our Children”, published in 1981 states, “The purpose of education and the schools is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of the students.” Notice there is no mention of the ideas of educate or impart knowledge. Ann Wilson states schools now exist “to transform our culture by social engineering through psychological manipulation.”

Michael Youssef stated in his book “When the Crosses Are Gone”, “We are fighting for the minds and souls of our children and the battle rages on.” He emphasizes the need for truth over feeling in areas such as media and schools and the judicial system. Parents, school starts in just a few weeks, a couple for some. This year we must be ready to investigate everything being presented to our children. Their souls are at stake. I am praying now for our diligence and strength in the coming days and year. Our children’s eternity is at stake. What labor is too great to protect them?

Burning within me,

JOY!

Hebrews 10:35-39 (ESV)

35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

“Yet a little while,

and the coming one will come and will not delay;

38

but my righteous one shall live by faith,

and if he shrinks back,

my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

The dangerous ideas being targeted at the young

It has long been stated that change in society has to start in the young. The older generation is set in their philosophies and way of life. Therefore, if a revolution is to take place, the idealist must take his thoughts to the impressionable. That is happening in our world, but not just among the unbelievers. It is happening among those who claim to be evangelicals. There are names widely revered and followed by the 18 -35 crowd that are not focusing on the Romans Road plan of salvation. Rather they are teaching what has been deemed as the social gospel. Parents, you need to be aware. It has caught my ear, and if I had not been warned I would have gone blindly down that path. But here is a foundational truth we must remember that is relayed in God’s Word over and over.

The world we live in is corrupted by sin. Man himself is corrupted by sin. This world is going to be destroyed and new heavens and new earth will replace it in which there will be no sin. Reference verses such as Genesis 6:11, Romans 3:23, 2 Peter 3:10-13. This world cannot be fixed by our efforts to do good though we are not set free from the command to do good works. We were created in Christ to do them before the foundation of the world. Those works however will not save our world.

Salvation comes from Christ alone. (Acts 4:12) Salvation is from the coming wrath of God upon Satan and the evil of this world. (John 3:36)

The social gospel teaches pleasing God means we feed the poor and clothe them and minister to the sick. Yes, Christ did these things, and we too should have compassion upon the poor and needy. Jesus surely did. However, men like Jim Wallis (who says his conversation text was Matthew 25:34-46) propose a Utopia on earth by creating a socialist system of government in which we all share all things. These teach Jesus will not come until we do so. Events across our nation target young adults encouraging them to fight the social injustices of our world. This is very noble, but the Bible teaches we are in spiritual warfare, not against social bias, racism, hunger, slavery and poverty.

So what do we use as a litmus test between what is right in God’s eyes and what is lost focus created by Satan’s design and deception? The earth will only be changed by the coming of Christ and the replacement of this corrupt world with the new heaven and new earth where RIGHTEOUSNESS dwells. As long as sin exist, this world will never be free of social injustice or corruption or cruelty or false ideas. We must focus on the saving of souls and living our lives to the glory of God by purity. These things the apostles taught and preached. They were concerned about the unfortunate circumstances of the weak and set up “deacons” to serve them. They never however went to the government to address the physical needs of the people. (It is stated Jim Wallis is a regular visitor of the current president.) The government then was not concerned with oppression, and neither are governments now. The avenger of the oppressed is God our Savior. (Psalm 99:8)

Teach your children to recognize the wolf comes in sheep’s clothing. You must be a student of the Word of God. Knowing it line upon line lest the enemy, disguised as an angel of light, deceives you and you don’t know to warn your children.

There is a city, whose builder and maker is God, a place where righteousness dwells. There will be no more night, no more pain, no more tears, but this comes after this earth is destroyed. It is corrupted by sin. No manner of good works will save our world, Christ and Christ alone is our Savior.

Burning within me,

JOY!

VITAL Life Info

I recognized a pattern. Every time my youngest child filled out a questionnaire about me for Mother’s Day projects, in answer to “my mom is special because”, he wrote “because God made her”. It always brought a “hmm” to my mind.  It finally occurred to me that he learned this phrase from a version of the shorter catechism we worked on at one time. The question stated, “Why are you special?” The rote reply was, “Because God made me.” I had inadvertently armed my kids with VITAL information for the culture in which we live.

Killings happen at an alarming rate in our world. Marines and a sailor were murdered just this past week in Chattanooga. There are sobering statistics of the unborn killed each day in America. Honor killings and beheadings are now posted on Youtube. Just this past year my heart was gripped by the “right to die” campaign of a young lady with a fatal brain tumor.

Euthanasia is defined by dictionary.com as:

Also called mercy killing. the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, especially a painful, disease or condition.

Well-known atheist Richard Dawkins applies this to Downs Syndrome babies, and Hitler used this premise to rid Germany of the elderly, as well as mentally and physically handicapped (among countless others). It appears death is merciful and justified for those who don’t benefit society. That narrows down in our culture to those who don’t benefit or please me.

What makes a life valuable? If, as education systems teach today, we are just a conglomeration of cells which magically appeared and spontaneously connected, there is no value. It doesn’t matter what your gift or talent, you are just an organism of cells no different from a tree (protected) or a seal (also protected). So why not kill and let be killed?

Origins define. In the above stated origin, beings are just cellular matter. That definition changes with a creator origin.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

This verse in the “beginnings” book of the Bible relays to us God’s blueprint in making man. He is made in God’s image. What gives man value and worth is the fact that God made Him. David’s well known Psalm goes on to state we were fearfully and wonderfully made and knit together in our mother’s womb. No randomness in knitting, each stitch is purposeful, counted even like the hairs on your head. Therefore, God hasn’t made any mistakes when He allows the birth of the Downs Syndrome child or the mentally or physically handicapped. They still are made in His image because they contain a spirit made in His likeness. Each human being has an eternal soul which will last forever somewhere.

When we celebrate our children’s physical and mental abilities without making it known their specialness comes from being made in the image of God, we feed the culture’s ideology into them. Should we encourage their Godlike behavior? Oh yes! Do all things as unto the Lord the Bible instructs. We should encourage our children and let them verbally hear our kudos when they do work with all their might. HOWEVER, what makes them special is not their talents or abilities or work ethic, but the lone fact that the God of the universe made them.

Since today’s “values” teaching is vehemently undermining the teachings of the Word of God, we Christian parents must be so diligent in pouring God’s Word into our inheritance. We must become students of doctrine and understand how vital God’s precepts are to the well-being of our kids. It’s time we as parents recognize the awesome burden we have to teach our children truth. The devil has waged a full scale attack and the “prize” if you will, is your children.  You dare not trust that someone else is caring for this task for you.

Burning within me,

JOY!

Confidence

From 8thirty8

Ramadan, Day 22:

To you from an Egyptian believer,

“As I was stuck in a traffic jam this morning, I looked left and right and I saw the pale faces of fasting Muslim men and women who appeared to be quite tired, even though it was only around 9 o’clock in the morning. To fast from liquids and food from sunrise to sunset is a difficult task, especially on days with temperatures around 98 degrees.

Muslims begin Ramadan with a festive attitude, often going around greeting one another.  Children buy colorful Ramadan lamps and enjoy the beautiful street decorations. Muslims spend more on food during this month than they spend on normal days. Many of them read the Quran loudly wherever and whenever they have the opportunity. Despite the festive environment, the pale faces of the tired fasters
show burdened hearts striving to please Allah so he might have mercy and eliminate at least some of their sins.  According to core Islamic teaching, their efforts “may or may not” be accepted by Allah.” (Letter from Open Doors USA)

How scary? How somber? The fasting ritual is a hope so maybe so absolution of some of your sin.

Compare that to the promise of Yahweh. He is not fickle. His plan of salvation includes everyone, and He says “only believe”. There are no scales weighing out good and bad. There is no changing mood or affection of Him thus changing His promise. He judged sin worthy of death, and His own Son paid that penalty for all who will believe. His glory is all His own – not man’s – thus He made salvation an act He performed alone. He is loving and just; kind yet ALL POWERFUL. He put the promise in writing. He made Himself the guarantee. No part of the pardon involves the sinner except faith. No acts of righteousness or acts of self-deprecation can secure your forgiveness. Only the blood of Jesus Christ which God provided for us all can give you confidence in standing before Him. No one has to wonder.

Know truth from His Word. It is unchanging and eternal. It is the reason for confidence.

Burning within me,

JOY!

 

That would be enough for us

Dayenu! “That would have been enough for us” is a Jewish Passover song. It is a statement of how God kept going further and further in his deliverance of the people of Israel. If he had just protected them from the angel of death, “that would have been enough for us.” If he had just seen them through the Red Sea, “that would have been enough for us.” If he had just provided water in the desert, “that would have been enough for us.” But God does more than we expect.

While discussing with my child the unthinkable event he should leave this earth before me, I stated, “My only solace; my only peace would be that you would be with Jesus and that I would see you again.” I stopped. I corrected myself. “No”, I stated. “It would be enough that you were with Jesus. Being with Him is so much better than being with me.” Dayenu! Yet, God went beyond that. He went beyond providing eternity in His presence to providing eternity with Him AND those we love who are of like faith. How great is our God? How awesome is He? Do you ever stop and realize how many times and in how many ways we could say “Dayenu!”, and yet He always seems to have a way “to go beyond our wildest hopes and fondest dreams”?  When you do, like the Hebrews, tell your children.

Burning within me,

JOY!

Thank you, Joel Rosenberg, for introducing me to this wonderful Hebrew word.

Not hidden

One of the mistruths of our feeble minds is that consequences will happen immediately. Although it is true some reactions are instantaneous, sometimes the results of our choices travel down over generations. The effects are far more reaching than can be imagined by finite thinkers. Listening to Joel Rosenberg recently, I was reminded that the father of the protestant reformation became so far off track in his later days. He was bitter toward those of Jewish descent who would not put their faith in Christ as Messiah so he decided they were not God’s chosen anymore. Rosenberg brought out Luther’s writings influenced Hitler. I’m sure Luther had no clue how his 95 thesis would influence the church of Christ nor how his writings on the children of Abraham would influence evil men to commit atrocities against them.

Peoples seem unaware today that God is seeing all. I think of words in a spiritual, “I tried to hide my face in a rock, but the rock cried out “there is no hiding place””.

Isaiah’s people assumed that God was not aware and that justice had alluded them.

Isaiah 40:27-28 (NASB)

27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,

“My way is hidden from the Lord,

And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?

The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth

Does not become weary or tired.

His understanding is inscrutable.

Good or bad, God will judge our lives and our choices. He is not tired of taking note of us. He is patient, loving and kind. He is also holy and just. Please remember whether you are living for him or against Him, He sees and justice is coming.

Burning within me,

JOY!

What do we cry out?

In confusing and trying days, what does the child of God cry out among the nations and peoples? I believe Isaiah tells us in wisdom that only God’s Word provides.

Isaiah 40:6-8 (NASB)

6 A voice says, “Call out.”

Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”

All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.

7 The grass withers, the flower fades,

When the breath of the Lord blows upon it;

Surely the people are grass.

8 The grass withers, the flower fades,

But the word of our God stands forever.

This Word applies to those who arrogantly think they can ignore the whole counsel of God’s Word and live as they choose. Life is short; eternity is long. The Word of God stands throughout all time. The choices we make about God’s truth determine our eternal destination. None knows when their “everlasting days” will begin.

A relative’s family lost a precious 16-year-old this past week. Those who have attended to them are astounded at their faith. Comments have been put on social media of being comforted by this family rather than being a comfort to them. The young lady’s funeral was all about her home going and living out the glorious hope she treasured within her while on this earth. This message of Isaiah applies to this family too. They can count on God to provide eternal life to those who believe on Him as He promised He would.

What do we say to all? Believers, unbelievers, scoffers, cynics, humble, trusting, arrogant, sick, in the prime of life, influential or unnoticed, all need to know life is fragile and fleeting. God’s Word will stand forever, and we will give account for what we do with it.

Burning within me,

JOY!

With the last

“Comfort ye my people.” I hear a haunting melody with this line. God’s people have needed comfort through the ages as they have suffered from their own sin and from the hatred of Satan for what God loves. God makes an indescribably comforting statement through Isaiah.

“Who has performed and accomplished it

Calling forth the generations from the beginning?

‘I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last. I am He.'” Isaiah 41:4

We are quite familiar with the words from Revelation testifying Jesus is the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega. However look at what God states in this verse. He is the first; there was no one before Him. He is also with the last. With the last generation of mankind, God is with us. Then He states, “I am He.” We need no one else. That is another phrase frequented in Isaiah by the Lord, “there is no other God.” Grasp that. There is none to refute Him or defeat Him. He is whatever you need, and He is here with us. Comfort yourself with those words.

Burning within me,

JOY!

So hard to do

I am burdened yet determined. I walked with my son this week. He is still young in my eyes and in the eyes of our society, yet he is on the precipice of manhood. Other times and cultures would consider him much closer than we do today. He is a deep thinker, and I took the opportunity to discuss the times. I shared with him the state of America is not the litmus test of our last days, but the condition of Israel is what tells us Jesus coming is near. I spoke of our Christian brethren in the Middle East suffering severe persecution and explained what a martyr is. I reminded him some of those events have touched the United States. Our borders are so open I informed him. Evil crosses often. I went on to tell him of Erwin Lutzer’s conversation with an expert in Sharia Law and how that expert challenged Lutzer that his purpose was to prepare the next generation to be martyrs. I informed my son we must be prepared to stand firm in our faith and not be the cowards described in Revelation 21:8.

It is so hard to lay such truths on my sons, but history has shown us Satan shows no mercy to any human regardless of age or race or mental capacity. Those entering a raging battle need armor and intel. God’s Word is both. My job as a parent is to prepare my children for eternity. That weight is enormous at this point in my life. I rely solely on my God and His word.

Below is a story shared on the Facebook site of 8thirty8 (see Romans 8:38-39). They encourage the world to pray for the persecuted saints. May this story inspire Christian parents to focus on the most important aspect of our “charges” lives. God placed them in our hands, and we will give account for what we have done with the “talents” he has entrusted us with.

Ramadan, Day 10:
“I’m going to tell you one true story of the hundreds of stories about the heroes of faith in my country of Syria:

Muslim militants entered a region near Damascus and they started killing all non-Muslim youth. There was a Christian family that had a young man named George, just 18 years old. The family realized he would be killed. During this time, their Muslim neighbor came to them, she was a good woman, and said to George’s mother, “Let your son be between my children and I will say that he is my son and we will call him Khalid and when the Muslims ask him he must answer, ‘I am a Muslim, I am not a Christian.’ That will keep his life from death.”

George’s mother told George what the woman said, and he replied, “We have learned from our Lord Jesus Christ that, ‘he who denies me before men shall be denied before my Father in heaven and the angels.’ My mom, I would rather die as a Christian and my name is George then have to live a lie. I cannot hide my faith and fear of his announcement.”

George refused to change his name to the name of a Muslim to protect his life and preferred to die with Christ then live for denying his faith and his Master.

When George’s mother told us this story, she was crying. She said, “al-Nusra of entered our home and took my son from my hands and killed him in the street. I could not even hug his dead body to my chest because of the strong fighting. After this, they expelled us out of the area. On this day, George went to his Jesus.”

George’s mother spoke about her son with pain, but also spoke proudly that her son died a hero in his faith. Please, in Jesus’ name, I ask you to pray for George’s mother and his family and for all who have heard and witnessed his death for Jesus. May the Lord send a private condolence to their hearts!”- Amir (Syria)

Deeply burdened,

JOY!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 278 other followers