Fear: Easier than Truth

Someday, you’re going to wake up and realize you’ve been duped.  You have believe the lies. It will be a hard pill to swallow.  No one likes to be lied to or played the fool.  Unfortunately, you won’t know what to do about it.  It will be too late.  You will realize what we’ve been warning you about all along has been true, yet you were too busy living in fear to believe it.  Somehow living in fear was easier than accepting the truth. 

But it’s too late.

Too many things have been taken away from you now.  People you love needlessly died because the almighty dollar was more important to those in charge.  They manipulated the data.  They spread propaganda.  You accepted what they said without question.  Critical thinking was overtaken by the fear and panic they intentionally invoked in you.  Because you were afraid, you believed what they told you.  You enabled them.  You complied.

And now your freedoms are gone.  You may not fully realize it yet, but they have been obliterated. 

It would have been wiser to ask questions.  It would have been wiser to consider what the people around you had been warning you about.  But you were told to fear them too.  And fear is the antithesis of truth and seeking truth. 

Now it’s too late.  You let fear rule you…misplaced fear.  You let fear snare you.  You let fear be your guide…and now we shall all suffer for it. 

Imposters in the Church: Spiritual Abuse

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about abusive relationships.  Most people relate abuse to primary relationships such as in a marriage or in a dating relationship.  However, did you know that abuse can incur at a spiritual level within the visible church? 

You don’t really expect to go somewhere where they are claiming to preach the word of God and be abused.  No, you think you’re going to find love and acceptance in a group of people who seem to espouse the same beliefs as you.  So it is shocking when you find yourself in an abusive relationship with a church family. 

If you think about it though, it really does make a lot of sense that this can happen.  After all, churches are made up of people, and people are fallen and sinful.  Add to that someone becoming a pastor for the wrong reasons (e.g., God complex, power and control, narcissism), and people attending church for the wrong reasons, and you have a recipe for disaster. 

Church was never meant to be about humans.  Church was created for God’s true children to come together to worship and glorify Him.  In the process, God grows and changes His children to be more like Him.  Unfortunately, many treat church as a means of finding personal importance, having friends, or trying to look good to others.  There are many in churches these days who have little to do with trying to understand God’s holiness or His purpose for the lives of His children.  Many are wrapped up in comparing themselves with everyone else to make them feel better about themselves. 

When I was growing up, whether you were a good Christian always seemed to be measured against other people.  When other people were more spiritual than you, you always knew about it.  I finally came to a realization.  I can remember clearly thinking, “Wow!  Why am I so concerned with so and so.  None of us measure up to God!”  As God changed the way I thought about things, I realized that Christianity wasn’t about comparing myself to other people.  In comparison to a holy God, none of us measure up.  I needed a savior to save me from my sinful self.  Reading my Bible 3 hours a day, praying on my knees at 5 a.m., only wearing skirts, and even going to church every time the doors were open were never going to save me.  These things were not what made me a child of God.  They may have made me look more spiritual to other people, but they were only a cover-up for the true nature of my heart which was desperately wicked.  I was behaving just like the Pharisees, and Jesus never had kind words for their religious behavior.

When you are in a church where what you do is a measure of your Christianity in the eyes of other people, you are in a very dangerous place.  You may just be in a situation rife with the potential for being in a spiritually abusive relationship.  I’ve noticed some similarities in churches were spiritual abuse occurs. 

First, there is almost always a pastor who is larger than life.  He is very vocal, sometimes even yelling at people during the church service.  People hold him on a pedestal, and it doesn’t seem like he can do anything wrong.  Even when it’s clear he’s doing wrong, no one questions him.  He is the supreme authority, and you cannot question that authority.  If you do, you’re not a good Christian. 

Secondly, there is an attempt by the church or people within the church to control your life including where you go, what you do, how you dress, and who you spend time with.  You are made to feel guilty or ashamed if you are not doing what everyone else is doing.  If you do not appear humble and subservient like everyone else, if you wear the wrong article of clothing or go to the wrong place, you are vilified and pointed out.  If you don’t dress the same way as everyone else, if you aren’t at church every time the doors are open, and if you don’t do what the pastor tells you to do, you are not a good Christian. 

A third indicator is an attempt to isolate you from the outside world.  You are told that you should not seek any help from people outside the church.  The only true Christians are the ones in your church family or churches that are just like yours.  So you cannot trust anyone else’s advice.  If you seek input from others outside the church, you are not a good Christina.  This isolation is designed to keep you from realizing that something is wrong. 

Another indicator that you might be in a spiritually abusive church is a violation of your privacy.  Everything you do, everything you say, must be accountable to the church and/or pastor.  Now there is a place for accountability within a church.  However, God has a very specific prescription for how that accountability is to take place, and it is not in a spirit of judgment or control.  A spirit of love and restoration must dominate that accountability. 

When we were looking for a new church family many years ago, I can remember walking into a church where the first thing a man said to us was, “We are an accountability church.”  He was quite proud of this fact.  But what I heard him saying is, “We are going to be in your business all the time, and we who think we are spiritual are going to be the judges of whether what you are doing is right or wrong.  You’ll be beholden to us, not God.”  That’s a very scary place to be!

Another indicator of being in a spiritually abusive church family is that you are treated with disrespect by people actively making you feel ashamed of who you are, blaming you for problems, and putting you down.  Any little perceived misstep is broadcast to the church, often from the pulpit, and then when you don’t fall into line, you are told you are responsible for confusion, disunity, and chaos in the church.  You become public enemy number one, and others in the church badmouth you and blame you.  The goal of this behavior is to try to pull you back in line and make you follow lock-step with what everyone else is doing to be a “good Christian”. 

It is important to remember that abusers have a very difficult time showing compassion.  They are only concerned with themselves and looking good.  They want to appear spiritual and more religious than anyone else.  Because they must maintain the appearance that they are better than other people, they have very little concern for the feelings of others.  The thing that makes them look the best is when you and others are made to look their worst.  They don’t truly care about others.  The are full of pride. 

Finally, abusers want you to do what they want you to do, and you are not allowed to have any individual opinions in the matter.  You are not allowed to be the individual God created you to be.  Your gifts can never be better than the other “important” people in the church.  You must believe what the pastor and/or church wants you to believe at all times, without question, even if it doesn’t align with Scripture.

It can be very difficult to remove oneself from a spiritual abusive church.  It can be very hard to recognize when you are a part of one.  Nothing irks me more than to see the harm inflicted on people by a spiritually abusive church.  The enemy is alive and well in the visible church these days.  His goal is to take as many people down as possible and keep them from a true saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. 

I can remember going to a Christian college and discovering that there were true believers who did not live legalistically.  Their faith was based on a true and honest relationship with Christ and not on how they measured up against other people.  Being able to be around a community of true believers opened my eyes to the fact that something was not quite right in the church I had grown up in.  My heart’s cry for those who are in a spiritually abusive church relationship would be that they would see the truth, separate from that body, and seek out a true church.  

The focal point of a true church will be on God’s Word, not people’s actions.  There will be an emphasis on worshiping God because of who God is and not because it gives you an emotional high or makes you feel spiritual.  Good churches are churches where people are growing to be more like their Savior and not based on looking good on the outside or how they measure up to others but based on the work God has accomplished in their lives. 

There are many imposters these days, but it is possible to find a body of true believers.  Do not give up hope. 

Experience Life

Whispering in your ear, the evil one says, “Experience life.” 

You take that first hit thinking, “I know people have told me it’s dangerous, but I need to experience life.”

Seductive and cunning, the tempter says, “What’s it going to hurt.  Now this is living!”

And down the path of destruction you go. 

The wicked one calls the path to death life.  The father of all lies has been doing it from the beginning.  He started with, “Did God actually say…” Then he moved to, “You will be like God knowing everything…now that is really living!”  And we’ve been falling for those deceptions hook, line, and sinker ever since. 

When we “experience life” the way satan wants us to, we walk down the path that leads to destruction.  Destruction is not truly living life.  It is like walking a plank over shark infested waters and thinking, “I think I’ll go for a swim.”  The jump off may feel exhilarating, but the end result leads to certain death.

The age-old lie of the evil one is designed to take away your life.  John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  It is through Christ that we truly experience life.  “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).

We all have crossroad moments.  Those moments where the tempter says, “Did God actually say?  Common man, experience life!”

Don’t buy the lies.  Choose truth.  Choose real life in Christ that you might live (Deuteronomy 30:19).

“My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live…” (Proverbs 7:1-2a). 

You Thought I was one Like Yourself

Holy.  Set apart.  God is holy, holy, holy.  God is not like us.  He is independent of us. 

Because we are told we were created in God’s image, I think we often imagine God to be like us.  In doing so, we severely underestimate who God is.  God is not a reflection of who we are. Anything good in us is a reflection of who He is…a glimpse of how awesome and wonderful He is.  Consider the following passage from Psalm 50:16-23:

16But to the wicked God says:
    “What right have you to recite my statutes
    or take my covenant on your lips?
17 For you hate discipline,
    and you cast my words behind you.
18 If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
    and you keep company with adulterers.

19 “You give your mouth free rein for evil,
    and your tongue frames deceit.
20 You sit and speak against your brother;
    you slander your own mother’s son.
21 These things you have done, and I have been silent;
    you thought that I was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

22 “Mark this, then, you who forget God,
    lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
23 The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
    to one who orders his way rightly
    I will show the salvation of God!”

From this passage, we come to understand that it is the wicked that think God is like people.  How incredibly faulty that thinking is.  God does not see things the way we see them.  He sees perfectly.  Our vision is impaired.  We do not understand things the way God does.  He understand perfectly.  Our knowledge is extremely limited. 

We will never understand God by looking at ourselves.  We will only even begin to understand God by examining who God says He is in His Word, and even that is just a glimpse of all He is. 

What would happen if we truly understood what it means for God to be holy?  What would it mean if we completely understood that He is not like us? 

God is not one like us.  God is holy.  I don’t know about you, but this brings me great comfort.  If God was like me, we most certainly all would be lost and without hope in this world.  But He’s not like me.  He’s not like you.  He is God, and He is holy.  In that there is great hope!  In that truth is the foundation for such a great salvation! 

A Prayer for America in Her Hour of Greatest Need

Dear Lord, We humbly ask for your intercession for our country.  Evil has arisen and is attacking the freedoms we hold dear in this country.  This evil seems insurmountable. Only you can save us! I pray that you “uncover the deeps out of darkness and brings deep darkness to light” (Job 12:22).  Lord, please act because your laws have been broken (Psalm 119:126).  The wicked have perverted justice in our country.  They have accepted bribes.  They have suppressed the truth by their wickedness (Romans 1:18). You hate robbery and wrong but love justice, O Lord (Isaiah 61:8).  Repay the wicked according to their deeds (Isaiah 59:18).  “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24).  Let what is hidden be revealed in time to make a difference to preserve America and restore this nation to its Christian roots.  Open the eyes of those who have been blinded, so they will see the truth and act upon it.  Please do not forsake your children who call humbly upon you to let truth be revealed and justice be done.  We are crying to You for help.  Please hear and deliver us out of all our troubles.  Thank you for being near to the brokenhearted and saving the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:17-18).   “To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 16:27).

God is in Control

God is in control. We are not. We like to think we are. We think the institutions and powers of this world are in charge. We are mistaken; they are not. God is.

God has a plan, a redemptive plan, for this world.  There is not one single part of His plan that will not take place. There is not one single thing that will be thwarted. God does not sit around wringing His hands worrying about how He is going to handle those leftists today or how He is going to manage a communist takeover of yet another country.  He does not worry if China has warships in the ocean, or if Russia has interfered with another United States election.  He has it perfectly under control. 

Just because we can’t see His plan, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Just because we don’t like what we think His plan might be, doesn’t mean it isn’t good.  God sees everything from beginning to end. Our vision is myopic. We only see what is right in front of our eyes and not beyond.  We are nearsighted.  We have limits.  God does not. 

Examine history. You can see God’s plan unfold throughout time. We do not know where we are in the process of God’s plan, but we can rest assured in the fact that He has it under control. We tend to only think of things as they occur in our time and place.  However, God promises to work all things out for the good of His children. That good may not always be experienced here on this earth but later in eternity with Him. God has the power to do all things, and He will do all that He has planned.

Christmas reminds us of God’s plan in a special way.  It reminds us not to worry because God has everything under control.  Matthew 1:21 says, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  God sent a Savior to save His people in the form of a baby who was born into humble circumstances.  This baby was 100% God and 100% human.  As He grew, He lived a perfect life and then sacrificed that life as a human sacrifice for our sin.  My pastor said it so eloquently, “God has a people.  They have a sin problem.  His intention is to save His people from their sin problem, and only He will do it.”  Scripture says that “all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet” (Matthew 1:22).  If God can and will save His people through the person and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, something that it impossible for any other human being to do, there is not a single other thing that God cannot do. 

God is in control.  We are not.  That’s a good thing because we are fallible, limited, myopic people.  In the famous words of a hymn penned by Helen Lemmel in 1922:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of this world will grow strangely dim

In the light of his glory and grace.

Determine to be free!

Freedom.  Liberty.  These are words you are familiar with.  You may use them in conversation.  You may even say you believe in the ideas represented by these words.  But do you really know what they mean?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines freedom as “the quality or state of being free: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action; liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another.”  Liberty is also defined as “the quality or state of being free: the power to do as one pleases; freedom from physical restraint; freedom from arbitrary or despotic control; the power of choice.  Thomas Paine (1792, Plan of a Declaration of Rights) famously stated, “Liberty is the power to do everything that does not interfere with the rights of others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every individual has no limits save those that assure to other members of society the enjoyment of the same rights.”

You see: liberty and freedom go hand in hand.  They are synonyms. 

In the United States of America, we have enjoyed a level of freedom.  Our Founding Fathers established a government rooted in Biblical principles, designed to enable its citizens to chose or act without restraint by the government within reason.  I say “within reason” because boundaries were also established by nature of laws designed to uphold the basic principles of the Ten Commandments.  You see, you cannot have true freedom without having justice.  And you cannot understand justice without God’s moral law.  The Founders understood this, and they established a government designed to elicit the most possible opportunities for freedom that might exist based on an understanding of God’s law and God’s purpose for government.  John Adams said our right to freedom was derived from “our Maker”. 

Scripture says that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17 English Standard Version).  The people of the United States used to understand this principle.  Freedom comes from God.  Freedom is a gift of God (cf. Romans 8:15; 2 Timothy 1:7).  Freedom is the grace of God (cf. Romans 8; Galatians 5:1-26). 

The Founders had an understanding of freedom from a Biblical perspective.  This perspective is evident in our founding documents.  Unfortunately, today we have forgotten the timeless principles about the origin and nature of our freedom, and in so doing, we have become slaves to corruption.  Most do not even know it.     

I once heard a story about a pastor who began pastoring a new church.  He did not like where the piano was located, so one day, he moved the piano to the other side of the room.  The church members threw a fit, so he moved it back.  Thereafter, little by little, he began inching the piano back over to where he wanted it.  He moved the piano so slowly, that the church members did not even notice it was happening until one day, the piano was where he originally intended for it to be.  No one said anything.  They had gradually become used to the idea. 

Right now, we are living in a time where our freedom is being significantly restricted in our great country.  These restrictions have been coming upon us slowly over time in increasing number as our country has strayed further and further from the Biblical principles upon which we were founded.  Thomas Jefferson (1788, Letter to Colonel Edward Carrington) stated that, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”  We see the government gaining ground all around us.  The “piano” has been moved, and in the past week, we see that it has been moved completely and drastically in the last final steps to the intended takeover of America.   

In The Federalists Papers of 1788, James Madison stated, “Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abuses of power.”  Liberty is in danger.  Freedom is in danger.  The United States of America is in danger.

What can be done?  Is it too late?  Can the piano be moved back? 

John Adams (1765, A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law) stated, “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right…and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” 

We need to wake up!  We need to learn and understand what it means to be free.  We need to understand what liberty means and where our liberty comes from.  Notice that the “piano” is being moved and resist the movement of the “piano”.  Do not allow another inch.  Move the “piano” back to where it started. 

If you value freedom, you will resist tyranny because tyranny is diametrically opposed to freedom.  Tyranny is the absence of grace.  It is the imposition of law after law, mandate after mandate, based on the whim of a despot.  “It behoves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case others” (Thomas Jefferson, 1803, Letter to Benjamin Rush).  You cannot be timid.  You must not be quiet.  You must take a stand now, or freedom will be lost.

“It is impossible to conquer a nation determined to be free” (Thomas Paine, 1792, Letter to the People of France).

Determine to be free!

A Prayer for the United States of America

Lord, Deliver us from the evil that has taken over our country (Matthew 6:13).  Expose the unfruitful works of darkness that are so prevalent in our government officials (Ephesians 5:11).  Protect those in office who fear you and stand up for what is right (I Timothy 2:1-4).  Show us the truth and guide us in wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 2:6; Psalm 111:10; James 1:5).  We come to You humbly in the name of Jesus, praying and seeking Your face.  Your children desire that this country will turn from its wicked ways knowing You will hear us and heal this land if this is what You have willed (2 Chronicles 7:14).  In Jesus’ holy name.  Amen. 

The Greater Threat

Time and time again, in response to all the government overreach and mandates related to the coronavirus panic, I have heard people say, “Well, I like what my governor is doing.  He (or she) is keeping me safe.” 

To that I ask, “Keeping you safe from what?  A virus that 99% of the people under the age of 70 who contract it recover from?  A virus that 95% of the people over the age of 70 who contract it recover from?  Your definition of safe and my definition of safe are vastly different.”

Still others say, “Well, the mandates my governor has made are working because people aren’t dying.”

To that I ask, “How do you know you wouldn’t have the same result without the mandates?” 

As a matter of fact, prior to the mandates, guess what?  Coronavirus was a virus that 99% of the people under the age of 70 who contract it recovered from.  Coronavirus was a virus that 95% of the people over the age of 70 who contract it recovered from.  Look at the before and after data and think critically about that data.  What we know now is based on actual data, not models (i.e. guesses). 

I have been studying the actual data since the beginning of the panic. Again, I say, “Your definition of safe and my definition of safe are vastly different.”

Safety to me means that I have choices I can make to protect my God-given, unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Safety is not the government making decisions for me.  Unfortunately, history repeatedly proves that no government has been able to keep people completely safe.  True safety comes from resting in the hands of a sovereign God and knowing that what happens in my life, both good and bad, ultimately serves His purpose and brings Him glory.   Safety is not the absence of a threat but the ability to effectively deal with one. 

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

There is a greater threat looming on the horizon. Today, my friends, you are more in danger of losing your freedoms than you are of dying from the coronavirus. 

False Freedom

Grooming:  it is what a child molester or abuser does to prepare his or her victim to accept the abuse without question.  It is a form of mind control where one manipulates the victim to accept what is about to be perpetrated without question.

A lot of grooming has been taking place in our country as of late.  It is in the form of narratives from the media and politicians who say catchy little phrases and lay guilt trips on the people.  My husband has always told me that if you say something loud enough and long enough, people will eventually start to believe what you say whether it is true or not.  He is right.

Take for example in Ohio.  The governor for a couple weeks prior to his state-wise mandatory mask mandate would repeat that masks represent freedom.  “Masks represent freedom”,  “be kind to others”, “wear a mask”, and “we’re in this together”:  these are all phrases I am sure you have heard in your own states and on the media.

Do masks really represent freedom?  I guess that depends on what your definition of freedom is.  If your definition of freedom involves being allowed to go only where the state tells you can go, then I guess you are free.  Welcome to how socialists define freedom.  “Any society that will give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both” (Benjamin Franklin).

Here is the dictionary.com definition of freedom:

  • the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint
  • exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
  • the power to determine action without restraint
  • political or national independence
  • personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom
  • exemption from the presence of anything specified (usually followed by from): freedom from fear

For many places in our country right now, people are not at liberty if they do not to wear a mask.  They cannot go about their lives without some type of external control, interference, or regulation.  They have no power to determine what they will do or where they will go without restraint from the government.  Unless they agree with the narrative, they have no political independence.  There is no personal liberty unless one is under the bondage of a mask.  To interact with the world around them, they are being specifically told they must wear a mask.  There is no freedom from fear.  Indeed, the mask represents fear.  It is a constant reminder to be afraid.

So right now, you have a bunch of people running around the country wearing masks who thing they are free because they can go into stores and public places.  After reviewing the definition of freedom, do you think they are free?

It is a false freedom predicated upon people’s fear.  To have “freedom” from the fear the media incites each and every day with manipulated data and exaggerated stories, people are willingly subjugating the true freedom which we were given by God to the false freedom offered by the state.

Wake up people!  Don’t you see it?  You have been groomed to buy into false freedom.  You have lost your personal liberty and have become slaves to your abuser.

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive” (C. S. Lewis).