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Clueless!

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26-27)

Things go on as always. Nothing seems to change. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Kim Jong-un has placed a big chip on his shoulder and dares America to knock it off. Xi Jinping, who tacitly agreed with President Trump to put pressure on North Korea to back off its nuclear expansion, now warns the US not to take military action against North Korea. In the meantime, Iran continues its nuclear program undaunted by restrictions imposed by the Obama nuclear deal. Russia, Syria, and Iran continue to amass troops on Israel’s northern border, while the cry for Israel’s destruction by Islamic extremists grows in intensity and volume. All of Europe is overrun with Muslims where almost daily there are reports of riots in the streets. Acts of terrorism and the raping of European women by Muslims, who see it as their sacred duty to conduct themselves as barbarians, is as commonplace as the rising of the sun.

Meanwhile, back at home, Trump haters and “Never-Trumpers,” aided by the Trump-hating liberal media, can find nothing but fault with President Trump. Regardless of the chaos going on all around the world, their concerted effort to delegitimize his administration consumes the majority of airtime with complete disregard for national security. Thanks to the previous President, the division in our nation grows deeper and wider than ever, and there seems to be no salve that can heal our nation’s wounds. It seems that any perceived offense serves as a motive to riot in the streets. Left or right does not matter; both sides thirst for blood. Morality? What morality? It no longer exists in America. Some public schools teach our little ones that their gender is a matter of their choosing regardless of their biological equipment. Our nation slaughters the unborn by the thousands daily.

With all the goings on in our country and in the world, it seems (generally speaking) that our people stumble around in a fog oblivious to the social collapse around them. They bury their faces in electronic devices. They search for diversion on television screens – sports, “reality” shows, TV gossip shows, etc. – anything to escape the “real world.” Then, if that does not work, they numb themselves with drugs or alcohol. It is like a bad dream where you are falling through the air without a parachute, and the ground is racing up to meet you. There is nothing around to grab to stop you. You are going to die, so you may as well think about something else because considering the inevitable will not help this time. Clueless!

The feeling is understandable for those who have no hope in Christ, but increasingly, I see a similar kind of attitude among Christians, albeit perhaps not to the same degree. Sometimes I listen in on conversations of Christian brothers, and what I hear is not much different than the conversations of non-Christians. They deliberate about their favorite sports team evaluating the condition and performance of the star players. I hear them discuss with great animation about the latest movie thriller or their favorite TV series. They will talk about who is “Dancing With the Stars” or the next “American Idol” or who is in the lead of “America’s Got Talent.” Sometimes they confide about what is going on in their families. Sometimes the conversation shifts to current events, which usually ends with the sense that there is nothing we can do about it. Very rarely is the conversation about what is going on at their church or about the pastor’s sermon last Sunday. Never do I hear about what they learned from their personal Bible study or what the Lord is doing in their lives. Their exchange sounds no different from that of the lost world around them – except without the “colorful” language. Clueless!

Jesus will return very soon.[1] He stands at the gates of heaven awaiting His Father’s command to go get His Bride – the Church. Like never before, a convergence of end-time signs continue to increase. Prophecy teachers more knowledgeable than me proclaim the same message I have written about over the last couple of years.[2] The prophecy teachers of which I speak are not false prophets the likes of Harold Camping who erroneously predict specific dates for Christ’s return. While they speak of a strong “likelihood” of Christ’s return this very year, they are quick to follow up with the disclaimer that we cannot know with certainty. However, the “signs” seem to indicate that our Lord’s return is more imminent today than ever. This is no time for Christians to be “clueless.”  Christians should rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus is coming soon.  Rather than confabulating over meaningless scuttlebutt, we should warn others of what is coming and share with them the way of salvation. Our Lord does not want us to be clueless. “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:42).

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1).

“But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Luke 21:9-10).

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:2-5).

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4).

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

Do not be clueless! The things of this world do not matter. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him … And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15, 17). “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10, emphasis mine). All things that consume your mind are temporal. In one blinding flash, they will all vanish. When that happens, what will you have left that is of any value?

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:11-13, emphasis mine).

Reader, if you are not looking forward to Christ’s return, do not continue being clueless. Find the way to heaven here: https://erniecarrasco.com/heaven/. Prepare yourself for what lies ahead.

Notes:


[1]  “Coming Soon!” https://erniecarrasco.com/2017/07/09/coming-soon/

[2] For a list of articles I have written on these final days, look over to the right-hand column of this blog and find the “Categories” list and select the categories “End Times,” and “Second Coming of Christ.”

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Filed under Christianity, Current Events, End Times, Evangelism, Salvation, Second Coming of Christ

Not Expecting to Die

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27)

Everyone dies eventually, but that is not my expectation. No, I have not discovered the fountain of youth, nor do I possess some secret, life-extending formula. Neither am I in denial about the certainty of death as it applies to me, nor do I fear the inevitability of death – although the process of dying is not too appealing. I fully accept the possibility that God could take my life at any moment. My life (and yours) belongs to Him, and He can recall it at His will. As the psalmist prayed, “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am” (Psalm 39:4).

That said, I expect not to die. Although our leading verse emphasizes that “it is appointed unto men once to die,” there is biblical precedence for it not being true for all men.

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Genesis 5:24).

And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both [Elijah and Elisha] asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11).

Two men recorded in the Bible escaped natural death, Enoch and Elijah. Some believe that the two unnamed witnesses described in Revelation 11:3 are Enoch and Elijah brought back to fulfill their unfinished prophetic mission. “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them” (Revelation 11:7, emphasis mine). Those who hold this view use this passage as confirmation of the truth of Hebrews 9:27 above, i.e., Enoch and Elijah did not die while they were on earth, so they must complete their earthly task and die as appointed to all men.

However, Hebrews 9:27 does not say παντες [all] οι ανθρωποι [men] – transliterated, pantes hoi anthropoi. While some may say that I am arguing from silence, I believe I have a valid point. The truth of this verse begins in Genesis when God commanded Adam, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17, emphasis mine). Adam and Eve disobeyed God and the curse of death fell upon mankind.  “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19, emphasis mine). “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12, emphasis mine). Adam’s sin brought the curse of death “upon” all men. The Greek word translated “upon” is the preposition eis, which can also be translated “toward” or “among,” meaning that all men are under the curse of death, but that does not necessarily mean that all men will die physically, although that is generally true for all men. All of us are susceptible to physical death – for the most part. However, the spirit lives on forever.

Death is more than physical death. Indeed, the worst death of all is that of the spirit separated from its Creator. Every person is born under this curse. Without Christ, everyone is dead in sin – eternally, but not irrevocably, separated from God. “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened [made alive] us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Ephesians 2:5, emphasis mine). Those who continue in that condition will suffer the second death. “And death and hell [the grave] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Revelation 20:14, emphasis mine). The second death is eternal separation from God for eternity in hell. What a chilling thought!

Everyone is born under the curse of death and is spiritually separated (dead) from God; but God has provided the way to be made spiritually alive by placing one’s faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ. However, along with that remains the fact that physical death is part of the curse. It is appointed to humans to die once, i.e., physical death, but those without Christ can also expect the second death – eternal spiritual separation from God.

However, Hebrews 9:27 implies that not all die physically. Indeed, there is coming a time when many millions of Christians from all over the earth will escape the bonds of this world without experiencing physical death.[1] “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, emphasis mine). “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, emphasis mine). The Greek word translated “caught up” is harpazō, and it means “to seize,” “to catch away,” or “to pluck or take by force.” In Latin, it is the word rapturo, from which we get our English word “rapture.” That time is very near.[2]

While the possibility remains that God may take me at any moment – all of us live with that possibility – I rather anticipate that I will not experience physical death. I expect to be caught up in the Rapture. That too can happen at any moment, but I fully expect that it will happen before I die, and I fully expect it to happen very soon[3] – perhaps this very year.

When the Rapture takes place, millions from all around the globe will vanish in an instant. I will be one of them. The Rapture will cause havoc around the world, but especially in the United States. Many in our government, including President Trump (from what I hear), are “born-again” believers in Christ – genuine Christians. At the Rapture, they will all vanish. Think of the chaos that will ensue when that happens! The US Government and economy is on the verge of collapse right now. Think of what will happen when many of our leaders disappear!

Reader, how about you? Will you go to meet Jesus in the air with me, or be left behind to face the seven terrible years that will follow. If you do not know, I would invite you to place your trust in Jesus for your salvation. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

If you want to know more about the “Rapture” and the “Second Coming” of Christ, just type the phrase into the search box on this page or under the “Categories” column, select “Second Coming of Christ.”

Notes:


[1]  “Coming Soon!” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2017/07/09/coming-soon/

[2]  “Pentecost” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2017/05/28/pentecost/

[3]  “Rosh HaShannah” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/10/03/rosh-hashanah/

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Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Current Events, End Times, Evangelism, Gospel, Hell, Religion, Salvation, Second Coming of Christ

What’s Wrong!

dying-uncle-sam

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)

            Recently, shortly after the New Year’s celebrations ended, I was listening to my favorite cable news channel, and I heard one of the news anchors, a lady as I recall, lament, “What’s wrong with our country!”  The outcry was in response to the shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport in Florida.

            These days many echo the same lament as our nation morphs from a nation of laws to a nation of lawlessness. One could point to our outgoing President dragging our country into the gutter, but, in truth, the decline began more than half a century ago. However, except for those living in ignorant bliss, it is obvious to the observant that the degeneration has markedly accelerated over the past eight years. My good friend and author, DiAne Gates, details the decline in her recent blog post: “A SYMPHONY OF DECEPTION.”

            What’s wrong with our country! Lawmakers carelessly vomit out laws aimed at curbing the anarchy of the lawless while, wittingly or unwittingly, denying the God-given freedoms of honest, law-abiding citizens. In the meantime, the “moral majority” celebrates victory for their part in replacing one narcissist with another in hopes of turning the nation around. I voted for Donald Trump, and I thank God that he won the presidential election rather than Hillary Clinton; but I am under no delusion that he is the salve to heal our wounds.

            Our nation is sick. That is obvious to anyone having a sense of awareness, and no one has the solution. Anyone familiar with troubleshooting techniques knows that before finding a solution to a problem, one must clearly understand the cause of the problem. What is wrong with our country? The cause and the solution are simple, but the implementation is hard.

            Both the cause and the solution are contained in the verse above. The promise given to Abram (Abraham) is generally understood to apply to the nation of Israel. That is indisputable (except by those with a perverted understanding of Scripture). After Abram arrived in the land of Canaan, God expanded on His promise. “And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him” (Genesis 12:7, emphasis mine). God amplified His promise after Abram and Lot separated. “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever” (Genesis 13:15, emphasis mine). If God’s Word is true, then the promise is irrevocable. The modern nation of Israel occupies only a fraction of the land given to them through Abraham by God. It matters not what the United Nations or the United States say about it, and it belongs to them forever! There you have the source of the problem to the Middle East.

            So, what has that to do with America? Perhaps you missed it. Note that the promise was directed to Abraham’s “seed.” That “seed” certainly applies to Israel, but “the seed” is much more than that. The Apostle Paul made the case that the “seed” applies to Christ more so than it does to Israel. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16, emphasis mine). Paul bases his argument on Hebrew grammar, which records the “seed” as singular, not “seeds” as plural. The promise made was to Christ, i.e., Messiah, who would come as a descendant of Abraham.

            You still wonder what that has to do with America and the solution to America’s problem. The answer is in our leading verse. “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3, emphasis mine). Look first at the last half of the verse: “in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” That is the promise of Messiah, our Savior. Through His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus made the way for all nations to be blessed, if they will accept and submit to Him. He is that Seed of Abraham. Contained in the first half of the verse is the cause and solution to our national problem. God said, “I will bless them that bless Thee, and curse him that curseth Thee.” The emphasis serves to highlight the object of the blessing or curse.

            In its infancy, our nation blessed and honored our God, our Savior. At its founding, God took center stage and our lawmakers unashamedly proclaimed that we are a Christian nation. Oh! How God blessed our beginnings! Why? Because our nation blessed Him. Can the same be said today? Not hardly! Today we, as a nation, curse Christ and cast Him out of every area of public life. Then we wonder, what’s wrong with our country? As a nation, we have called what is good evil, and what is evil, we call good. The solution is equally simple. Stop cursing God, and start blessing Him again. Can it be done? I don’t know, but I do know this, “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

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Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Current Events, Politics, Random Musings, Salvation

A New Thing

2017-future-road

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Whew! Got by that one! We dodged a bullet in 2016! While I remain skeptical of a Donald Trump presidency, I believe God granted us a reprieve by saving us from Hillary Clinton. Even so, the current administration continues to do its best to inflict as much damage to this nation, while in the death throes of its waning days.

Who knows what lies ahead in 2017? The stock market has taken an upward turn with the prospect of “President” Donald Trump. If he follows through on half of his promises, there is hope for better days ahead. However, the best of intentions must still deal with reality, and the reality is that we live in a very unstable and volatile world. The future is future. We can look to the past. We exist in the present, but the future is opaque at best, and dark and obscure for the most part. We cannot know what will come to pass. We can plan and hope for the best, but there is no guarantee of a calamity-free future. We can sound the waters, but sometimes there are hidden shoals that can sink our ship.

When navigating unfamiliar waters, an experienced pilot can help the captain guide the ship through safe waterways. A wise captain will turn the ship over to the pilot who knows the way. William Ernest Henley said, “I am the captain of my soul.” That foolish boast failed to avert his bout with tuberculosis, and did not stay the death angel when Henley succumbed to the disease at the age of 53.

We cannot know what 2017 will bring, nor can we avert the adversities that may come upon us. Like Henley, we may prefer to “captain” our own soul, but if we are wise, we will turn the helm over to The Pilot that knows the way. “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10, emphasis mine).

No matter what 2017 may bring, God promises to give us “a new thing” and to “make a way in the wilderness, and in rivers in the desert.” If God is your Pilot, you will do fine!

Happy New Year!

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Filed under Christianity, Holidays, New Year's Day, Politics, Theology

I Choose Ted | National Review

If the choice is between suspending the rules of decency or accepting that we are in uncharted waters and conscience must light the way, I choose Ted.

Source: I Choose Ted | National Review

_____________________________________

To all my Trump loving friends that are mad at Ted Cruz for not saying “I endorse Donald Trump”:

I’m confused. I listened to Cruz’s speech last night, and didn’t hear anything I hadn’t heard before — all true, by the way, and it wasn’t “ugly.” I’ll admit he didn’t put on the pompoms for Trump, but he didn’t exactly bash him either. He encouraged everyone – in the Republican audience – to look down the ballot and “vote your conscience.” What is wrong with that? Are Republicans now like Democrats that will vote for their brand even when there is blood on their hands? In a Republican audience, I believe that “voting your conscience” means voting Republican. Or, did I miss something there?

During the campaign, Trump verbally assaulted “Lying Ted” because he (Trump) had nothing of substance to bring to the table – and still doesn’t from my perspective. After all the ad hominem attacks on Cruz by Trump, why should he accept the offer to speak at the RNC? Many other “losers” simply refused the invitation. The fact that Ted bothered to speak at all to me is a show of endorsement.

And for you that are questioning Ted’s Christianity, be careful. It is not your place to judge a man’s heart or his motives. I will vote for Trump only because the alternative is unthinkable, but I am under no delusions that Trump will be the “savior” that you’re looking for.

Those who still have the brain God gave you should read this article and rethink your assessment of Ted Cruz: I Choose Ted | National Review

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When God Won’t Hear

man-alone-with-god

Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings. (Micah 3:4)

I get weary by the overwhelming onslaught of depressing news that assails me from all directions. It assaults me from the radio, TV, social media, internet, emails and even from normal conversations with friends. Let us face it, the world is a mess and nothing seems to make it better; it just seems to keep getting worse. Perhaps that is why we see so many people with their faces buried in their personal communications devices (PCDs) playing Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds, or the latest craze, Pokémon GO, or whatever – anything to escape the “real” world – but the news refuses to go away.

Without detailing every account, anyone not fixated on their smart phones knows that the whole world is in serious trouble – economies are failing, ISIS grows like a cancer, rogue nations threaten the peace with nuclear arms, etc. The United States once served as a stabilizing force in the world, but America has her own problems now. Since Barack Obama became President, America’s economy has faltered, her military strength has declined, her influence for good in the world has diminished, and the heart of her people has weakened. President Obama mocks Christians for clinging to their guns and Bibles while he praises the virtues of Islam. He criticizes police use of lethal force against blacks without knowing all of the facts, and excuses the perpetrators as victims of racism. Obama lashes out at Christians who denounce the sin of homosexuality and celebrates the “bravery” of those that “come out of the closet.” When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex “marriage,” Obama gave assent and showed approval by bathing the White House in the rainbow colors of “gay pride.”

Recently a man, claiming allegiance to ISIS, entered a gay bar in Florida and slaughtered several people in the name of Allah and Obama refused to acknowledge him as an Islamic terrorist. Just two weeks ago, another man, Micah Johnson, targeted white police officers assigned to protect peaceful protestors of the Black Lives Matter movement. Five police officers were murdered in cold blood and several others were wounded. In honoring the fallen officers, President Obama began his speech in praise of the heroic officers who ran toward the danger and did all they could to protect the marchers, but his speech quickly degenerated into his typical race-baiting rhetoric. When our leader has no concept of unity, it is no wonder that our country is so fractured. However, the problem is greater than just one man’s inability to lead. The problem began some sixty years ago when the nation slowly chipped away at our Christian foundation and ousted God from the public square. “In God We Trust” are just words on our currency. Our beloved country is very, very sick.

Christians are encouraged to pray for our nation and to pray for our leaders. Albeit out of context, 2 Chronicles 7:14 frequently serves as a call for Christians pray for the nation. God promises, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (emphasis mine). God’s promise was made to the united nation of Israel, but Christians have (erroneously, I think) claimed it as their own forgetting that “our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20, emphasis mine). The Greek word translated “conversation” in the King James Bible (KJV) is politeuma, from which we get our word “politic,” means “a community” or “citizenship.” Not that we should be “so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good,” but the United States of America is not where our primary allegiance should be. As the Apostle Paul asserts, “our citizenship is in heaven,” not the United States of America. Ours is the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of Barack.

Like the United States of America, Israel, first the northern kingdom and then Judah, rejected God and turned to false gods – not every individual, but the nation as a whole. Even so, there are many faithful Christians in America who “have not bowed unto Baal” (1 Kings 19:18), but there exists only a remnant. I am certain that the faithful in Israel prayed for their nation, but that was not enough to dissuade God from punishing the entire nation – including the faithful ones.

Micah prophesied in Judah. By this time, Israel, the northern kingdom, no longer existed as a nation, having succumbed to the Assyrian Empire. From the time the ten northern tribes broke with Judah, the nation fell into idolatry. Now Judah followed suit. Micah voices the words of God who charges Judah’s leaders, for lack of judgment (Micah 3:1).  God points out that they “hate good and love evil” and they abuse the people with unjust taxes. The graphic words paint the picture: “who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron” (Micah 3:2-3). There comes a point when, “Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings” (Micah 3:4, emphasis mine).

Isaiah brought a similar charge to the nation as a whole, not only the leaders, but also those who willingly followed.  “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider” (Isaiah 1:3). Sad! Dumb animals recognize their source of provision better than “intelligent” people do. “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward” (Isaiah 1:4). Can we not say the same of America? As the passage continues, God laments that the more He punishes the nation, the more rebellious they become. God assesses their condition as sick of head and weak of heart. Out of rote, they bring insincere offerings to God, but their hearts belong to other gods. So, God says, “when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:15, emphasis mine). God is infinitely patient, but He does set limits. When those limits are breached, His response is predictably sure. I say “predictably” because He gives an abundance of warning for those who are willing to listen.

Well, that seems just and deserved for those who rebel and reject God; but what about the faithful remnant who cry out for their nation? Just before the conquest and expatriation of Judah to Babylon, Jeremiah pleaded for his nation, but three times God charged him to stop. “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (Jeremiah 7:16, emphasis mine). Then again, “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble” (Jeremiah 11:14, emphasis mine). Finally, “Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good” (Jeremiah 14:11, emphasis mine). Jeremiah certainly qualifies as one of God’s people. There comes a time when God will not hear the pleas even when they come from His people.

For Judah, God kept His 2 Chronicles 7:14 promise and returned them to the land, but only after they had served their full time in Babylonian captivity. Even today, we see God’s promise fulfilled as Jews from all over the world continue to migrate back to their land. However, America is not Israel, and this promise does not have universal application.  I realize that many disagree with that statement, but I suggest that such sentiment stems from deep-seated patriotism and love of country. I understand that. I too am a patriot. I willingly and gladly gave 12 years of my life in the service to this nation. These words I write tear at my heart as I see the inevitable demise of the country I love. Yet, our directive calls for us to hold the things of this earth loosely and cling to that yet unrealized country.  Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21, emphasis mine). Is your treasure in America or in heaven above?

Praying for our nation is a noble thought, but I believe our country is too far-gone for that now. I believe God is saying, at least to me, “Pray thou not for this people.” What about Paul’s exhortation to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2)? Consider where Paul had been – imprisoned in Rome – and where Timothy was – pastoring the church at Ephesus. Rome hardly qualified as a bastion of republican democracy. In Paul’s exhortation, he does not call for prayer for the preservation of the empire. He says to pray for “the leaders” – individuals. Why? In order “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:2).  In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul says that God appoints leaders. “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1, emphasis mine). The Roman rulers under which Paul and Timothy lived were despicable despots to whom they were to submit in order “to lead a quiet and peaceable life” regardless of who was in charge.

Christianity flourishes in China under an oppressive communist regime. Should Christians in China pray that their form of government continue? My point is that no matter what form of earthly government we live under, we owe a higher allegiance to the Kingdom of God. We should pray for our leaders that they might come to a saving knowledge of Christ through whom they will gain godly wisdom to rule. Even so, salvation is a personal matter between God and each individual. On that same note, rather than praying for the survival of our nation, we should not only pray, but labor for the salvation of individuals. For our nation to return to its foundation, the hearts of individuals must change. A wholesale repentance of a majority of individuals must take place before God will hear the pleas of His people for their nation.

Remember Abraham’s intercessory prayer for Sodom and Gomorrah? (Genesis 18:23-33) If there are 50 righteous, if there are 40 righteous, if there are 30, 20, 10, will you destroy the city? In the end, there were not even 10 righteous, and God destroyed the cities. Depending on what poll one reads, the number of “genuine” born-again, Evangelical Christians in the US hovers around 20% and declining. Should God spare the nation for 20 righteous? Did God spare Israel for the 7000 that did not bowed unto Baal? (1 Kings 19:18).

When a nation exceeds the limits of God’s patience, God stops His ears to the intercessory petitions of His people for the nation. Indeed, He says, “Pray thou not for this people.” Has America reached that limit? I think it has. We see a rise in depravity, perversion, and unrestrained violence, not to mention natural disasters. This is why the best response we can offer to a Hillary Clinton presidency is Donald Trump. It is sad to watch, but take heart Christians. We have a heavenly citizenship, and we pledge our allegiance to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our duty is to work for and expand His Kingdom until He returns. I pray that is soon!

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No Choice!

Bad Choices

Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: (Daniel 2:20-21)

The Republican National Convention looms ahead within a few short weeks, and it appears that Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP candidate for President of the United States. The prospect is disheartening to many Christians including me, but unlike me, many Christians are resolved to “suck it up” and vote for Trump as the “lesser of two evils.” I don’t know about you, but I am tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. I voted for the lesser of two evils in 2008 when I voted for John McCain. I voted for the lesser of two evils when I voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. What did that get us? It got us eight years of Barrack Obama! To me, Donald Trump measures up so far below either McCain or Romney that it’s like drinking the dregs of cold, stale coffee.

I have stated openly that I will not vote for that man. Unless he assumes some real principles greater than his own ambitions, I cannot with clear conscience bring myself to cast my ballot for Trump. I will vote, but I will either vote for a reasonable third or fourth party candidate or write in my choice, which at the moment happens to be Ted Cruz – the only principled, constitutional conservative that ran in the primaries. Ted Cruz also holds solid Christian values, and lives by them.

Many of my friends criticize me for making that statement saying, “That will just guarantee Hillary will be the next President” (provided she doesn’t end up in prison). Is that true?

As Christians we should make our decisions based on biblical principles. Does the Bible give us any guidance? The verse above says that God removes and sets up kings, i.e. rulers. Arguably, presidents of the United States, are not “rulers” per se – at least not constitutionally – but now that is highly suspect considering how President Obama has performed in his administration. Whether kings, rulers, or presidents, the principle holds true: God sets up and takes down rulers.

At the installation of Solomon, King David blessed the Lord saying, “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all” (1 Chronicles 29:11-12, emphasis mine). Clearly, David recognized God’s sovereignty over all earthly matters. The Apostle Paul applies this concept as to how we should relate to those in power over us. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1, emphasis mine). In Paul’s day, Rome resembled a republic somewhat like ours, except that citizens did not elect their leaders. The Senate was composed of the aristocracy, who obtained their position though inheritance, appointment or through bribe. The point is that citizens had no say in their government. Under these circumstances, Paul exhorts Christians to submit to their leaders because “the powers that be are ordained of God.” The Greek word translated “ordained” is tassō and it means “to arrange in an orderly manner.” When we consider some of the tyrants that ruled Rome and their persecution of the saints, we might wonder what kind of “orderly manner” God arranged, but Paul clearly affirms that God controls who sits in power. Nero, Diocletian, Muhamad, Napoleon, Hitler, Lennon, Stalin, Putin, Obama, Ayatollah Khomeini and many more could be listed – all had Divine appointments. No leader or ruler on earth exists or has ever existed that God did not put in place.

That said, if we truly believe God’s Word, can we honestly say we have any real influence on who will be our next President? Can we realistically assume the responsibility for who will lead us? The Bible says that God makes those decisions.

So, what is the use in Christians voting?

The United States of America is unique among all the nations of the world and among all the nations throughout history. In no other nation has God vested power in the governed, i.e. the people, rather than in governors. At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1788, it is said that a lady asked Benjamin Franklin what kind of government they had given us to which he replied, “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.” We stand at the precipice of losing our republic. By many standards, one may say we have already lost it; but we can still vote for our leaders – for all the good that does. The problem is that most of the leaders we elect are unprincipled liars seeking their own gain, personal privilege, and power. They hear the people’s cries and promise to fulfill their wishes (like “repeal every word of Obama Care”), and once they are elected they become deaf to the voice of the people.

What are we to do? We must do what is right before God. That is what we do! “Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times” (Psalm 106:3).  “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous” (1 John 3:7). At the conclusion of his exposé on the vanity of life seeking pleasure and possessions, Solomon sums up, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, emphasis mine).

What is the right thing to do? Chief Justice John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, said, “Providence [meaning “God”] has given our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers” (emphasis mine). For Christians, then, the right thing means preferring Christians as our rulers. Of course, someone will undoubtedly retort, “We are not electing a pastor, we’re electing a President.” Perhaps, at this point, it behooves us to elect a pastor in the truest sense of that word. A pastor, i.e. a “shepherd,” looks out for the welfare of his sheep even to the point of giving his life for them. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Wouldn’t that be a great attribute in a President! – or any of our elected representatives for that matter!

Voting for a pastor as President might not be such a bad thing; however, there is not one running for the office. Many of my Christian brothers and sisters fear a Hillary Clinton presidency so much that they are willing to vote for the reprobate Donald Trump as the “lesser of two evils.” By what standard they make that judgment I cannot discern. Joel Rosenberg offered 32 reasons a Trump presidency would be a catastrophe for America.[1] I also wrote about this and provided links to other articles giving reasons why Christians should not support Donald Trump.[2]

Donald Trump is no pastor. Judging from his “fruits,” he is not even a Christian. He may be a Presbyterian, but he is not a Christian, I don’t care how he labels himself. If Christians are to prefer Christians as their leaders, then, my friends, we have no choice. That is why, unless God raises up a principled, Christian man (or woman) that cares about this nation more than he/she cares about him/herself, the only right thing I see to do is write in someone I, in good conscience, believe is worthy of the office. To me, at least for now, that is Ted Cruz. My conscience is clear, and I trust in the sovereignty of God for the outcome, even if it is Hillary Clinton.

Friends, our nation rejected God a long time ago. God’s judgment is not coming upon our nation; it’s already on us, like it or not. What we see these days – the violence, perversion, disregard for law and order, etc. – is the judgment of God. Read Romans 1:18 ff. Even if Trump is elected, do not deceive yourself into thinking that he will be any better than what we have already. Remember that choosing the lesser of two evils is still evil. For that reason, I cannot vote for Donald Trump. I feel I have no choice.

Notes:


[1] Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog: https://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/32-reasons-a-trump-presidency-would-be-a-catastrophe-for-america/

[2] “The Trump Sounds,” https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/02/28/the-trump-sounds/

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