Thursday, 18 of September of 2014

Growing Visibility/Shrinking Viability – Craig Marlatt

I have long been concerned about the new trend of extreme individualism in America and it’s affect on Christianity.  According to some recent surveys done by both secular and religious organizations there is good reason to be alarmed.  Since 1990 the number of Americans who claim to have a religious belief has declined by 11 percent.

According to William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, he thinks a radical shift towards individualism over the last quarter-century has a lot to do with it.

“The three most dreaded words are thou shalt not,” he told television commentator Lou Dobbs recently. “Notice they are not atheists” said Donohue, “they are saying I don’t want to be told what to do with my life.” 1

This is reminiscent of an incident where all the trouble began in the Garden of Eden. Genesis says that there man rejected God’s authority and sought to establish his own.  Adam chose knowledge and self-enlightenment over the alternative of obedience to God.

In the midst of this changing religious demographic, the rise of the mega church seems to be having its way in the Protestant world.  During that same period the number of Christians who call themselves evangelical or born-again has risen from two hundred thousand to eight million.  One-third of all Americans now call themselves evangelicals.

This would seem like wonderful news to those who track Church growth.  Yet the decline in religious belief in general seems to indicate that this is more a shift in style preference than an actual growth in numbers.  There is clearly a direct correlation between the growth of the mega church and the shrinking of small and traditional Protestant churches in America.

With the rise of Christian television and the high visibility of the modern Church, one would think that we would be seeing an increase in religious beliefs in America.  Instead, according to this and other recent surveys, the opposite is occurring.

So why are we seeing this radical shift in American spirituality?  The answer to that question actually may be found in another question. Is modern Christianity actually Christian?

When the message that dominates the Western Church is more about self improvement, success and prosperity is that a Biblical Christian message? When there is a reluctance to preach sin and repentance from the pulpit is that a Biblical approach to Salvation through faith in Christ? When Church worship has been replaced by something that compares to a Broadway show or a public concert is it in fact a Worship Service?

If the answer to these questions is ‘Yes’  then the Bible does not truly represent Gods will for mankind and his directions to his Church!

With the mega church model comes the rise of the Christian Superstar.  Yet how many of such stars have we recently seen falling from the heavens crashing tragically to earth because of scandal or immorality?

Too many I assure you.  And when that happens the focus is usually on the fallen leader and very little attention is given to the hundreds or even thousands of followers who have now found a good reason to doubt God and join the growing ranks of unbelievers these new findings speak of.

How many conclude that if someone as great as these fallen spiritual leaders ― highly gifted and admired by so many ― can’t follow God in obedience, how can God expect them to do so? And with that they withdraw into the quiet world of unspoken doubt and pain.

My question is this: is the model that Jesus gave us a better way to raise and nurture true Christianity?  Does growing a huge congregation primarily depend upon watering down the message to make it more palatable to the masses?

It is easy to look at the problems of America today and blame that on the crooked politicians.  That sure can seem like a good place to lay the charge.  But in the light of these new findings we in the Church may need to point the finger back at ourselves if there is any hope of recovery for our nation.

Jesus said “This Gospel must first be preached among all nations.” (Mk 13:10) Are we sure that today’s popular Gospel is the one he was talking about?

 

1 http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/03/09/us.religion.less.christian/

 

 

 


The Coming Darkness & the Overcoming Light

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  (Gal. 6:7—9)

 The Coming Darkness & the Overcoming Light

There is a growing darkness encroaching upon the world and it is becoming much clearer as we see how our American way of life has been attacked in the Church, the Government and the home.  We have become extremely secularized and materialism has largely overtaken faith.

The highly visible modern Church spends much of its time begging for money and telling us all about the “authority” the ‘new leaders possess.  But it is not the same type of authority that we see exercised in Biblical New Testament leaders.  It is an authority based on hierarchy and not on the Love of Christ.  In this way it is very much like the elitist systems of the world.  This kind of authority demonstrates itself by control not by compassion.

Those of us who have had supernatural spiritual experiences in the past long to see those days again and many have said to me things like, “Where is the Holy Spirit today?” or “Why don’t we see the Power like we used to?”

In many ways I believe this is more of a desire for Pentecostal types of demonstrations as are often the things that separate the Charismatic or Pentecostal believers from others.  I have never trusted in these and I do not believe this is what we are going to see as Power in the coming days.  This is experience based and not the basis upon which we are established in the certainty of who Christ is and what He accomplished on the Cross and in the Resurrection.

I do not say this lightly because I know that so many believers long to ‘feel’ the Holy Spirit similar to what they may have in the past.  I do not believe this is something upon which we can build our spiritual walk with Christ.  Often I have found that following Christ is an ‘on my knees’ experience where I can only see the Light through the darkness like a crack in a wall.  Sometimes this is the most clear when I have blinked and missed the path for a season.  But He expects me to follow especially close at times like these.

Peter tells us that all which belongs to us is established in the “Exceeding great and precious promises of God. (2 Peter. 1:3,4)  That which He expects of us can only be realized as we trust in His promises because that is the Source from which our life springs.  He promised that He would restore the Holy Spirit back to man after the fall and He has done so in Christ for those who believe.  He is the Promised Messiah and in him dwells “…all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”  Colossians 2:9

Darkness is upon us and it remains to be seen what God will do.  It is not a time for popular doctrines.  It is a time to seek the Lord for the discernment that will empower us to stand in these times of disillusionment.  And it is time to use the faith that we have to influence others to turn to Jesus Christ.

Christ cannot fail because He has overcome the world;  all of the world wherever that may be. Like Peter we all fail him at times but He reminds us in Luke 22:32 that as He did for Peter,  we can trust that Jesus is interceding on our behalf doing the same for us even now. We must go and strenghthen our brethren (Hebrews 7:25)

As we see those around us (especially those of our own families) struggling to keep the faith, we must remember to stand fast in Him and not to be deceived by what we see with the eye.  We may be the only Bible that they can read when the darkness truly comes in its fullness. (Matt. 5:14)

God cannot fail and His Church will prevail because he is able to keep what He has given to us and all that we give to Him.  (2 Tim. 1:12)

Blessings,

Craig


Loving for Loves Sake

“Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Sam. 9:1)

Have you ever wondered why God called David a man after His own heart? He was an adulterer and a murderer and he had blood on his hands from the many wars and battles that he fought during his lifetime. So much so that God would not allow him to build the Temple but instead passed that honor on to his son Solomon.

David spent much of his early life running from King Saul because of the jealousy that Saul felt against him. He had at least two chances to kill Saul during this time but he refused to lay his hand against the man whom God had anointed King.

When Saul finally was killed in battle, and his son Jonathan, David had the man who ended Saul’s life killed for daring to kill the King even though Saul had asked the man to do so to end his suffering.

After David was firmly established as the new King he sought out someone of Saul’s household to bless because of his great love for Jonathan. His heart was so filled with love for his friend Jonathon that he wanted to honor him by blessing the kindred of his enemy Saul.

David was a type of Christ. He loved someone who  hated him for the sake of his love for someone else. This, and many other acts of David, made him a man after God’s own heart.

Jesus commands us to love our enemies and do good to those who do us wrong and pray for them and bless them. When we do this we follow in His footsteps who, “while we were yet sinners died for the ungodly.” (Rom.5:8)

Like David, Jesus loved us for the sake of Someone else; he loved us for the sake of His Father in Heaven. This is why David loved Saul, because of the great love he had for God and his desire to be obedient and spirit. David understood a part of God’s nature that few comprehend; that “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 Jn. 4:18)

It is easy to love those who loves us in return. Even the heathen do that. (Mt. 5:46) But loving those who don’t love us, or those who misuse us requires something else that goes beyond natural human love.  We do this because of our love for Jesus.

When someone has hurt us or dashed our hopes and crushed our spirits and we still love them and want the best for them, we are walking in the heart of Jesus Christ. Like David, we may have the opportunity to get them back or to make them pay for what they have done, but when we refuse to do so because of our love for Christ we fulfill a higher purpose and entrust them to God. If there is judgment to be done, He will do it, not us.

Seek good for all those around you, regardless of how they treat you. To do so is to follow Christ in the things that really matter to Him. It’s not easy, but remember King David and remember the greatest example of all, when our Lord himself looked down from the cross and said, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

 


The Ten Lepers

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)

                                                 THE TEN LEPERS

How easy it is to appreciate God’s mercy when we are needy and hurting, yet forget and return to our own self centered lives when trouble is behind us. I have seen this in my own life and in the lives of many to whom I have ministered on Christs’ behalf. Rare it is to find the ones who don’t forget the kindness of the Lord and remain humble and grateful for what He has done.

Our walk with the Lord is a journey on a road with only one destination. It is a straight and narrow road for which all tolls have been paid by Christ. Truly the broad road leads to destruction, but we who love Christ are not on that road.

The Master knew the nine lepers would soon forget who healed them and go their own way, yet still He healed them. They had become comfortable in their disease as we often do with our sin. But the one who returned to say thanks understood not only the mercy of God, he knew the depth of his own illness.

Many times we fail to be thankful because we lack a true picture of the depth of our illness. We fail to see how much our sin has separated us from God. We take it lightly or think it is small in comparison to that of others. Like the elder brother of the prodigal we become convinced of our own goodness because we compare it to the wrongdoing of others.

When we minister the love of Christ to those we meet along the journey, it is the joy of the one who returns that encourages us to care for the nine who don’t. We do not touch the unlovely because of our goodness but because we have been touched by the goodness of Christ.

Though we might become discouraged by the nine who are seemingly ungrateful, the one who returns to give thanks fills us with the joy of the Lord and reminds us that our labor is not in vain. Therefore we must not be weary in well doing for we shall reap in due time if we do not lose heart. (Gal. 6:9)

I know this in my own life and even recently have been greatly encouraged by someone who appeared suddenly from the distant past to say thanks. His kindness has reminded me of Christ and how much He loves me. And it has inspired me to find new strength for the work that God still has for me to do. For this I am truly grateful.

Never forget what God has done for you. If you do have a temporary lapse of memory or find yourself busy with your life, remember to thank Jesus for healing you. And don’t forget those who cared for you along the way. Take the time to return and say thank you. It means a lot and encourages them in their journey as well.

 

 

 


Jesus, Lord of (Whatever)

Have you heard about Dutch gazillionaire Bas Lansdorp who is currently taking applications to pick ten people to be pioneer colonists on Mars? The project is called ‘Mars One’ and they have already received 78,000 applications in just two weeks. Too bad he doesn’t let me choose who would go; I can think of a few people I wouldn’t mind sending there.

Now that the Vatican has admitted to having information on a history of extra terrestrial visits to earth we are sure to see more and more questions coming around about such things and how they affect Christianity. They say the Government has proof of such things too but they hide it from the public because they fear  it would shipwreck religious beliefs and cause world chaos. I don’t know why they think that? If our beliefs are not based in the truth we shouldn’t want to keep them.

Every now and then someone asks me for my thoughts about life on other planets. My normal comment is that no matter where life is, Jesus is Lord of that life.  I am reminded of John 10:16 and Jesus’ comment that He had other sheep to tend that [were] ‘not of this fold’. Maybe He was talking about life in other places.

For me, the first time I saw Cirque Du Soleil live I was convinced they were all from another planet. I couldn’t imagine humans being able to do the things I witnessed that night.

What’s the big deal though? When I look out at the vast world that I can see with my eyes I remind myself that it is only a miniscule part of all that really exists. Maybe there is life on other planets. Who am I to say? Like one scientist commented, “If there isn’t life on other planets it sure seems like an awful waste of space.”

Still, I think it is natural to fear the unknown. Some people are afraid of anything that is different and they see no reason why God would make anything or anyone that was not just like them.

I tend to like variety myself. In fact, Let’s face it, we all have Designer Genes. God made all of us and everything that is, and from what I see He likes diversity too.

I love life and always have enjoyed it but I also can’t wait to get to heaven. With Jesus saying, “Eye has not seen nor ear heard the things that God has prepared for those who love Him”, that leaves a lot of room left to wonder about it all. That’s part of the Great Mystery I think, and God does love Mystery. In fact, the Secret things belong to God. (Deut. 29:29)

It reminds me of a cartoon I once saw in a magazine where two guys were supposedly in heaven and they had angel wings and were smoking cigars. There were beer cans strewn around the floor and the sign that read ‘HEAVEN’ was hanging loose with one broken chain. The punch line read, “Somehow I didn’t think it would be like this!”

It’s not . . . of that I am certain.

No, when we leave this world behind us I am pretty sure the splendor of our Eternal Home will be beyond compare. As wonderful as it is here I can’t imagine God toning things down in that Glorious City where Christ dwells and reigns as Lord and King and a great multitude of angels and saints sing His praise day and Night..

That is . . . if that is where you are headed. With all that’s at stake I would want to make sure if I could. Thank God for Jesus. He took care of all that for me on the Cross; and for you too if you believe the message of the Gospel.

Having said all that I wouldn’t worry whether there is life on other planets or not. I’d want to make sure there was Life inside of me that would go beyond my years on earth and give me hope. From what I read in Revelation and other books of the Bible, that’s way better than a trip to colonize Mars.

And for that trip there’s plenty of room for anyone who wants a ticket. Once the Station Master let’s you get on the Gospel Ship . . . the sky is not the limit. In fact . . . there is no limit!

 

 

 


Will the Son of Man Find Faith in the Earth?

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge *said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8 NASB)

With so many distractions in today’s world it is easy to wake up and find yourself far from where you want to be. When I examine my own life I can see that I have become spiritually lazy and easily drawn into the problems of the world around me. It is the great trial of our times for believers to be overly concerned with the things of this world.

Yet worldliness is not just a tendency to desire material things. It is a dependence upon the natural reality rather than the spiritual world that awaits us and the Spirit of Life that dwells within us. When we set our minds on the things of this world we are forgetting that we are dead to it and already risen with Christ. (Col. 3:1)

It is hard to deny that we are living in a world that is rapidly forsaking the things of Christ. What is acceptable today in all spheres of daily life and conversation would have been considered vile and despicable just fifty years ago. For those who believe the Bible is the word of God, this is disappointing yet not surprising.

Like the woman in this parable of Christ we must remember that it is prayer that moves God and not the changing world. We must not lose heart as we see the world crashing around us and fulfilling those things that God told us would come to pass.

God is not surprised that the world is turning against His Son and neither should we be when it turns against us. He warned us that it would happen from Genesis to Revelation. What He is concerned about is this: “. . . when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

Our definition of faith has been greatly skewed today from its true meaning. Modern teaching presents faith as a way of obtaining those things that we desire. In reality the Greek word pistis (faith) in the New Testament means ‘To be morally persuaded of the Truth.’

God cannot fail but we can. We can fall sway to the things we see with our natural eyes rather than to the truth found in God’s Word. We can fail to pray and spend too much time thinking and reasoning instead.

Only through prayer can we keep our compass pointed in the right direction as we glance at this passing world and gaze upon our Savior and on that which awaits us in Eternity.


Rekindling the Fire in Your Heart

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.”     (Hebrews 10:31-35

 

All of us at one time or another need to remind ourselves of things the Lord has done in our lives. For those of us who happened to be born into the Kingdom during a time of awakening or a movement of God, it may seem like things are never as powerful as they once were. Things may seem dull compared to when we were first brought to Life by the Holy Spirit. We may find ourselves questioning the things we once considered vital to our lives.

As Paul reminds us in these verses from Hebrews, God’s Word has a remedy for such things. The world around us and the burdens of living can erode our spiritual life and neutralize our faith with cold waters of complacency.

In these verses from Hebrews 10 Paul reminds of how to keep that from happening.

First, never forget that the Lord is to be feared. We are accountable to Him for our lives and He is the only Creator and the Ultimate Judge of all things.  We must remind ourselves of the goodness of the Lord from times past in our lives when we were being highly illuminated and things seemed so clear. How easy it is to say, “I am God’s bondservant,” when we are experiencing great things of the Spirit, but then when trial comes we find ourselves crying, “Lord, where are you?”

Second, we must build a life out of our doctrine but not build a doctrine out of our life. Don’t take today’s experience and make it the benchmark by which we make judgments on how God works in our lives. The rain falls upon the just and on the unjust (Mt. 5:45) and time and chance happens to us all (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

When times are difficult or you are questioning where the Lord is in your life, Paul reminds us as he did the Hebrews to remember how it was when [you] first found the Truth and how [you] were willing to sacrifice everything to follow Him. Whether troubled or in conflict you were willing to stand your ground. Even though people may have considered you to be a strange religious fanatic you joyfully took their puns and criticisms knowing that you had found the True Purpose for living.

You had found new friends in the faith that once walked with you but now some have gone the way of world or returned to the traditions they once held and have left off seeking their daily Spiritual life; now some of those same friends may wonder how you can keep believing and doing those thing that they have since left behind.

Truly, in this life many people come and go, even those who have made commitments to the Lord. Though He never changes . . . we do. I can think of many people who have fallen of the radar in my life because they have gone away from their walk with Christ and I only hear from them when I hunt them down or they call in a time of desperation. Yet they are always under the watchful eye of the Lord as He waits for their return like the father did with the prodigal son. Ready again to put their feet back on the path to Sonship.

Be encouraged in the Lord! The Lord is not a man that He can lie. Nor does He has no shadow of turning away from His plan for you. Everything He planted in your life will come to fruition, even though the way that He is working may seem different from your plan. Remember, He started this and He will finish it.

When He created man His first words were, ‘Let us make man in our own image and likeness.’ (Gen.1:26). God is still doing that today through the working of the Holy Spirit in your life. He is transforming you into the image of His Son Jesus.

There are many questions about the future in this fast changing world, but remember, God is the Future! Nothing surprises Him or catches Him off guard including all of the things that are happening in your life.

Strengthen yourself with the memories of former days and of God’s faithfulness. He cannot fail. He will never leave you nor forsake you.


The Gospel of Power

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto Salvation for everyone that believes; to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.“ Romans 1:16

A few weeks ago my wife had an encounter that brought to mind many of the problems I see happening in America today. She was talking with someone who claimed to be Christian but thought my wife judgmental for taking the Bible position as God’s perspective on homosexuality, abortion and sexual promiscuity. This person thought that if God was fair and loving He must also be tolerant.

To this my wife immediately replied, “I’m not apologizing for God. He’s the One that made mankind and the rules that we should live by, If these are His rules they are right and good for all of us. My job is not to apologize, but to obey.”

Wow! I couldn’t have said it better myself Jolyn.

The question of Americas’ survival as a nation may stand or fall upon the positions we are taking on these issues and the challenge being made to God’s clear directives found in the Bible. While we continue to slide down the slippery slope of moral relativism we are reaping the fruits of this decline in every area of our society . . . including and maybe even especially, in the Church.

Spend a  mere fifteen minutes in front of most Christian television programs today and you will quickly see that the popular gospel of today is not the one that was once delivered unto the saints with Power. Instead it is another gospel. It is the gospel of tolerance, materialism and self gratification. If Paul were with us today he would surely be ashamed of what is being preached in the name of Christ.

While many ministers today are afraid to mention sin from the pulpit, there seems to be no lack of its practice by some who claim to be leaders. The idea of filling the pews with people has become the primary directive today when it should instead be seeing that those who are in the pews are filled with the Holy Spirit and walking in obedience to God’s Word.

If we believe the popular message of todays modern gospel we might think God is a lonely grandfather who just wants everyone to get along and have a good time in life. And with the heavy emphasis on entertaining the saints in the pews today I wouldn’t be surprised to walk into a Church one evening and hear K.C. and the Sunshine Band singing ‘Get Down Tonight’.

What happened to the banner that once flew over the Tabernacle of Israel proclaiming ‘Holiness Unto the Lord’? Isn’t that the true work of the Holy Spirit: to make us Holy and transform us into the image of God’s Holy Son? When did we decide that the gospel was all about speaking in tongues, prophesying pleasant words for the brethren and calling down money from heaven?

Self help messages of success and personal improvement have replaced the powerful words of the Apostles that once provoked the early Church to sell their houses and lands to enable the furtherance of the Gospel and help alleviate the suffering of those less fortunate. (Acts 4:34)

What happened to that Gospel? It has been trampled under foot by those who see the Kingdom of God as merely an improved version of the kingdoms of this world.

When our Gospel calls us to stretch beyond personal convenience we will see that it still has the Power to change lives. When the condition and well being of our neighbors’ soul means more than keeping up with the Joneses we may see a turn-around in our country that could awaken America again to the real values that made this such a great nation in the past.

Remember, where a mans treasure is there will his heart be also. (Matt. 6:21) As it is with a man so it is with a nation.

 

 

 


The Power of Choice

Did you know that some schools in Great Britan have started policies of banning students from having best friends? Their justification is that in doing so they will soften the blow of loss when children split from their friends. For me this explains why Britain is having such a hard time correctly condemning Islamic ideals like Sharia Law and are allowing its’ practice in some courts. When you lose the concept of ‘best friend’ you also throw away the idea of ‘worst enemy’. I guess the Brits figure if you don’t choose you can’t lose.

Rick Santorum was recently criticized for comparing Mitt Romney to an etch a sketch toy. His repugnance of Romneys statement, “I’m going to run as a conservative”, shows that he understands the power of choice. What does Romney mean by saying he is going to “run as a conservative?” Could this mean that after the race is over he will go back to being a non-conservative? That’s what Santorum is asking and I think it’s a good question.

I have often wondered how many people go into the voting booth and just pull a party ticket? That’s not really voting in my book. In fact I believe that’s how we have gotten into this current mess that we are in. If people are afraid to differentiate they are putting their future in someone elses hands. That’s the real outcome of party politics.

We choose best friends based upon things we like or dislike in others. Common bonds are what make differences stand out. If I can’t choose who will be my friend then I can’t choose who will be my enemy. If we don’t have any enemies then everyone will get along, right? Not!!! Try telling that to the angels who decided not to vote for Lucifer in his attempt to overthrow God. Aren’t you glad that Michael and the others had enough sense to know the difference?

This is why too much tolerance is a bad thing. G.K. Chesterton says tolerance is the religion of someone who doesn’t know what they believe. I tend to agree. That doesn’t mean I should be intoerant of everyone who doesn’t agree with me. It just means that I am aware of the differences so I can know how to act in any given situation.

Choosing is natural to the human experience. It’s the root of the God given concept of ‘free will’. People who don’t understand choosing don’t know what real love is. Love is an act of the will. It is a choice not a feeling. It is how God will eventually separate the entire human race. He will choose between good and bad.

Sometimes choosing is painful. You can choose to live with cancer or suffer the pain of having it cut out. You can choose to live with unforgiveness or suffer the pain of repentance. You can choose to ignore the facts of a bad relationship or face them and break it off. Choosing is not without pain but in the end it can be a life saver.

In defense of the British I think they have come a long way since the days of Colonialism when they thought England was the model of humanity and should rule everyone. Yet I think their current posture of extreme tolerance doesn’t work.  You can’t solve every problem by ignoring it and just having a cup of tea. I can say that because my mothers is British and I have British roots. I can also say that because I have suffered the pain of ignoring a problem as if it wasn’t there.

In the voting booth each person gets a chance to have a shot at being god for a brief moment. But what kind of a god will you be? One who just goes along with what others are saying and doing so as not to be different or one who believes that they know what right and wrong is and will do what they believe is right? Votings is like choosing a best friend. It doesn’t always work out just as we thought it would but at least we had the right to choose.

Welcome to America. Make sure you do your research before picking your best friends this coming November. The way things are looking we may not have the choice much longer. Like the British schools the administrators may soon take the power of choice away. Of course we know they’re only doing that for our good so we don’t have to suffer the pain of losing a friend, right?

* * *


Why Love?

The most wonderful of all things is love. Love is the bravest, the strongest, the most fearless, the most courageous, the most willing, the most daring, the most heartbreaking, the most lonely, the most ­­infectious, the most painful, the most enlightening, the most disheartening, the most sacrificial, the most giving, the most caring, the most sensitive, the most tear jerking, the most tragic, the most . . . on and on and on into infinity. Truly love was God’s greatest gift to his creation. God so loved his creation that He gave Jesus as a sacrificial offering to himself in order to redeem it back to relationship and to His heart. According to John the Apostle God is love.  (1 Jn 4:8)

Hatred is a terrible thing. Avoid it at all costs. Do not let your heart go there or your life will follow in its downward spiral toward hell. Hatred is the opposite of God. Hatred is despite for God. It is the evil that only God himself can hate safely. Even the Archangel Michael considered it something to be avoided and warned of its powerful force to consume. (2 Pet. 2:11-12 and Jude 1:9)

Today we are living in a contentious reality. We see what is happening all around us in the Church, the world, Islam, extreme racial supremacy groups, the government, the educational establishments and the media. Anti-Semitism is on the rise, as well as a sometimes unbalanced extreme pro-Semitism. People everywhere are trying to find their place to fit in and many are adhering to group think isolationism via one faction or another. We must avoid this and remember that God will reward every man according to [his own] works.

Paul tells us that we are to let the peace of God rule in [our] hearts. (Col. 3:15) It is the love of God that produces the peace of God. It is the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. (Rom 5:5) It is the love of God that sent Jesus to the cross for our sins. (John 3:16)

Three years ago this month my wife Jolyn visited heaven for several days while her body was being kept alive by machines. When she suddenly awoke after five days she at first regretted coming back into her body. Although she thought she had only been gone for a matter of minutes, the overwhelming yearning in her heart for the bliss that she experienced in heaven was so powerful that it took nearly a year for her to completely return here in her heart. Her most vivid memory of heaven: God’s unconditional love. Her message to me: “If I ever go there again please don’t bring me back.”

I write this because I am certain that many are suffering from fear of the future. Many fear what may be coming due to the extreme changes that are rapidly taking place in our world and in our time. It is easy to fall into one camp or another to find answers to what lies ahead for us all and we certainly should put forth an effort to understand what we can. We need not fear if we have placed our faith in Christ. That does not mean that we will not suffer or go through great temptations and struggles that may come. If life teaches us anything it is that time and chance happens to every man. (Ecc. 9:11) I encourage you not to put any stock in those who say that all true believers will not have to suffer if they have a certain kind of faith. This is folly to anyone who views the human experience through the lens of time and scripture.

But this I know. God is love and He has called us to follow His Son Jesus in this way. It is through Gods love that we can understand and cope with the difficult experiences that test us and will challenge us in the days ahead. When we see what the cost of love was for God himself we understand that there may come a time of great sacrifice and struggle for all who follow in his footsteps. But Jesus said. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

So now comes the times when hating can be an easy step for the unprepared. Let us avoid this at all costs and let the love of God in us be our witness to the world. Christ in us is the hope of glory and also the shining light that can draw even the worst sinner from the fires of hell into Gods saving love.


The Narrow Road To Eternity

One night in 1980 I had an experience that changed the way I look at spiritual things. As I was preparing to teach a series on the cults the Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks with these words: “Don’t study the darkness. Study the light and you will know the darkness when you see it.” I got the message and discontinued my plan for that lesson series. It was an unforgettable experience that made a mark which I still heed.

Since then I have often noted how easy it is to be captivated by titillating doctrines that offer ‘special’ light. A brief stroll through the Christian channels on television can reveal how popular doctrines offering far fetched ideas have come to dominate modern western Christianity. It is quite understandable that in a time when ‘instant everything’ is the normal expectation we would see similar attitudes in the pursuit of spiritual matters.

On the other hand I was recently made aware of witnessing groups that frequent college and university campuses and condemn everyone to hell who doesn’t agree with their doctrine, often calling the female students whores and the men homos and drug addicts. These folks might want to do a character study on Jesus before they start judging and condemning everyone else.

Of course no such discussion would be complete without mentioning the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas where their primary ministry seems to be to condemn everyone else but themselves to hell and damnation. They protests military funerals of fallen soldiers, homosexuals and others and most recently they are making plans to protest at the funerals of victims of the recent Midwest tornadoes claiming they died from God’s judgment. I’ve seen a couple of the women leaders of that group and I wouldn’t want to run head on into them in a dark alley. Where’s Jack the Ripper when you need him?

Somewhere between ‘everyones going to hell’ and ‘no ones going to hell’ we are most likely to find the truth. If God sent his son not to condemn the world but to save it then it is not likely that He wants his followers to go around condemning the world on his behalf. Romans 10:6-7 reads “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) “

As ambassadors for Christ we have been given the privilege to invite people to the party and give them distinct directions on how to get there but it is Jesus alone who makes up the guest list. Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37) Yes we are called to be God’s messengers but we are not His consultants. And that does not make me a Calvinist just someone who believes in the finished work of Christ.

If I have learned one thing in my years as a Christian it’s that I don’t know everything. Thank God I know someone who does and all those things that don’t makes sense to me will one day be crystal clear when I stand in his presence. My wife Jolyn was there once and all she could say was how she was covered and surrounded with God’s unconditional love. Sounds like the place where I want to be. How about you?

So how wide is the narrow road to eternity? The width, depth and height of one man, Jesus Christ. Put your trust truly in Him and do your best to obey Him and what He has given us in his Word. He’ll take care of the rest and I believe the road will open wide before you once you go through that Narrow Gate.


Compromise – The New Word For Conservatism?

Politics has always been a game of compromise but rarely in a presidential election season has it been so clearly manipulated by party rhetoric and favoritism. The fact that so many republican leaders are endorsing Mitt Romney is quite astonishing to me. It would be even more so if they really thought that he would be the guy that was right for the job. But maybe they do feel that way . . . if we redefine what THE JOB is. To the Republican Party it seems the job is keeping the status quo and not endangering the sweet deal they already have going for themselves. In that case Mitt Romney is the perfect guy not to upset the Beltway applecart if he wins.

Everyone seems to be buying the idea that we have to do whatever we can to get Obama out, but can Romney beat Barack Obama? Once the liberal media starts slamming his Mormon faith and they surely will once the field is clear for him I expect Evangelical Christian voters to run from Mitt Romney like they were hiding from two wholesome looking boys on bicycles knocking on their door sporting LDS I.D. tags.

Whatever happened to voting your conscience? Are we afraid to do that for fear of failure? Since when has obeying ones conscience ever been a bad thing? (That is unless you have a seared one). With so much at stake for the future of America hinging on a return to Christian morality and Constitutional principles what makes us think that each individual taking a clear stand to obey his conscience is a bad thing? Isn’t that where moral values find their home in a person? In a nation?

To be honest I like Ron Paul. I have several reasons why:

Truth -  Ron Paul is a man who tells the truth and has not changed his mind on issues just to get elected. Isn’t that extremely important? Trut worked well for George Washington didn’t it?

Financial Strategy - If anyone has ideas concerning how to save America from financial ruin Ron Paul does. For him it’s simple:   

  1. Quit spending money that we don’t have
  2. Get America back to being a producing nation by supporting our own industry and ingenuity
  3. Shut down the Central Banking System (The Fed)
  4. Shut down the I.R.S. and get a better tax system
  5. Quit financing every little pet project or ear mark just to help elected officials get re-elected.
  6. Quit sending our finest young men and women to fight wars where we are not wanted and where our politicians have no clear plan for winning.
  7. Get back to the Constitution

 Security – Some say Ron Paul is an isolationist when it comes to foreign wars but if that is true why do more military and ex-military support him than all other candidates combined? Don’t we know that they (soldiers on the ground) would have a better idea of what needs to be done militarily than a bunch of Washington bureaucrats who make decisions based upon campaign contributions often coming from companies seeking defense contracts?

Abortion – Why is his clear pro-life history being ignored by so many who say that legalized abortion is a major reason for God’s current apparent judgment on America?

Israel Just because Ron Paul thinks Israel is able to handle their own business quite well doesn’t make him anti Semitic. Anyone following Israeli history as well as their recent dealings with Iran realizes that Israel is not afraid or incapable of handling its own self when protecting their people.

I recently spoke with a friend who was in a church service where a high ranking military officer was speaking. He had just returned from a long period of active duty in Iraq and he shared some amazing insights about the real problems there. He told how our servicemen there were struggling to get by with the equipment and security that was being provided by our government while executives with private contractors like Halliburton and others rode around in Cadillac Escalades with private security protection that would make Sylvestor Stallone’s Expendables look like schoolboys. Is this treatment worthy of our serving men and women who are risking their lives for America?

In truth we are so easily manipulated by media propaganda that if they say someone like Ron Paul can’t win we believe them. It’s too bad though. As long as we keep electing the same type of presidents as we have had over and over again, we can expect the same kind of government that we’ve had over and over again. Somehow that makes sense to my simple mind.

So I say . . . vote your conscience and don’t let them, me or anyone else tell you otherwise. But do your research first so your conscience has something to work with. Once that has been done you can live with yourself no matter what the outcome in November is.

I’ll trust truth, consistency, reasonable ideas and decency over business acumen and elitism any day of the week. I think we have a better chance of bringing our country back to a good path with those things than we do just trying to figure out how to get the current bad guy out just to make room for the next guy to have a shot at it.

May God bless America,

Craig Marlatt


A Tribute to All of Our Warriors

To All Our Warriors

Veterans Day is here and we are again reminded of the cost and sacrifices of those who go to war to defend the freedoms we know as Americans and as human beings. Our youngest son Jonathon is still in the military and is scheduled to make his second deployment to Afghanistan next year.

Though I have never been in the military myself I have known the reality of war through the family and friends who have gone off to fight . . . some who never came back from the battle and others who did return, but brought back the scars and inner struggles that often come from war. In the end war changes everyone it touches and they are never the same again.

I hate war. It is the harshest of realities that reminds us of our fall from grace as a species created in the image of God. It was God’s adversary Lucifer who waged the first war in the heavens and he continues to do so even today by spreading his venomous poison into the hearts of men. Because of this, as long as Satan roams the earth there will be war, and men, women and children will die.

There are two realms where war is being fought today. One is here on the earth and the other is fought moment by moment against principalities and powers in the heavenly realms. Both wars are of vital importance; both have tremendous consequences; and both will cost us dearly of those we love. One is fought with armaments made of bullets and bombs, and one with the Word of God, the power of prayer, and the hand of mercy to those under attack of the enemy.

Though I have not fought in the physical wars of earth I have spent the past thirty-five years engaged in battle with the enemy of the souls of men. I’ve seen great battles fought on behalf of righteousness in this war and have also seen many casualties in the process. Some of our most notable soldiers have fallen, never to rise again, while others continue to stand against the enemy winning great victories and setting people free. I have fought alongside mighty warriors in the Spirit on several continents and have always been amazed by their willingness to sacrifice, and the courage they show in battle.

We don’t have to look far to see the ravages of war. They are all around us today as we see the battles raging, both spiritual and natural, being fought by men and women who refuse to give in to the enemy. In both cases they fight for freedom against an enemy who hates everything and everyone.

The battleground of Legalized Abortion knows no bounds to Satan’s hatred of the human race. His willing minions who serve in this evil practice seem blind to all righteousness as they sacrifice life after life on the altar of self indulgence. But the foot soldiers in this army are some of God’s mightiest warriors and there is recent hope that this war may soon be won in America.

Since the war in Vietnam it seems our government has lost its center in the area of right and wrong. They pass laws and fund evil regimes that fight against the very things that America stands for. While politician’s pockets swell with the rewards and profits of the industry of these wars, we are forced to wonder whose side they are really on. Our youngest and bravest are sent to fight and die in wars they are forbidden to win, in countries where they are not wanted. And here at home they continue to point their congressional weaponry at the citizens who do good, while defending and empowering those who do evil. How long can this go on before America loses heart or goes to war with itself again? Only God knows.

Today let us remember the veterans of both theatres of war. Wherever war is fought there will be those who pay the price and suffer for their dedication to freedom and righteousness.

May God bless all of our veterans and those still engaged in the battles of this life.

 

 


A Letter From An Employer To His Employees

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job.  As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges.  However, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job.

What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.  Of course, as your employer, I am forbidden to tell you whom to vote for – it is against the law to discriminate based on political affiliation, race, creed, religion, etc.

Please vote for who you think will serve your interests the best. However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interest.  First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story.

This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear.  Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside.  You saw my big home at last years Christmas party.  I’m sure all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.  However, what you don’t see is the back story.

I started this company 12 years ago.  At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years.  My entire living space was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company.  I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission.  I didn’t have time to date.  Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying.  In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs.  They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned.  They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes.  Instead of hitting Nordstrom’s for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the Goodwill store extracting any clothing item that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70′s.

My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury.  I, however, did not.  I put my time, my money, and my life into a business — with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9 am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5 pm, I don’t.  There is no “off” button for me.  When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself.  I unfortunately do not have the freedom.  I eat, ****, and breathe this company every minute of the day.  There is no rest.  There is no weekend.  There is no happy hour.  Every day this business is attached to me like a 1 day old baby.

You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden — the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations….  You never realize the back story and the sacrifices I’ve made.  Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail out all the people who didn’t.

The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for. Yes, business ownership has its benefits but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds.  Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why: I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes.  Federal taxes.  Property taxes.  Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes.  Workers compensation taxes.  Unemployment taxes.  Taxes on taxes.  I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what?  I have to pay taxes for employing him.  Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time.  On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes.  You know what my “stimulus” check was?  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy?  Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business?  Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check?

Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.  The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here.  I mean, why should you?  That’s nuts.  Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work?  Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don’t understand …  to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy.  Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what?  Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth.  My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries.  But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don’t defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you?  Or, do you defibrillate his heart?  Business is at the heart of America and always has been.  To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it.  Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the mud of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine.

Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.  So where am I going with all this?  It’s quite simple.  If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple.  I fire you.  I fire your co-workers.  You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future.  Frankly, it isn’t my problem any more.  Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire.

You see, I’m done.  I’m done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive.  My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

While tax cuts to 95% of America sounds great on paper, don’t forget the back story: If there is no job, there is no income to tax.  A tax cut on zero dollars is zero.  So, when you make decision to vote, ask yourself, who understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn’t?

Whose policies will endanger your job?  Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of saving your job. While the media wants to tell you “It’s the economy Stupid” I’m telling you it isn’t.

If you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the Constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever.  If that happens, you can find me in the South Caribbean sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

Signed, Your boss,

Michael A.  Crowley,

PE Crowley, Crisp & Associates, Inc.
Professional Engineers
1906 South Main Street, Suite 122 Wake Forest, NC 27587

Phone: 919.562.8860 x22 Fax: 919.562.8872


Is Big Brother Watching You?

Ever wonder if Big Brother really is watching you? No need to wonder any longer. With ‘Face Recognition Technology’ gaining the high ground in law enforcement, many are now waking up to the reality of how naked the general population is to the government eye. Once considered merely good content for spy movies, we now know for certain that no one can hide in the crowd any longer.

In Hebrews 4:13 we read, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” That’s fine for God, but who wants give the government, or anyone else for that matter, the same privilege?

If we go back to Genesis chapter 11 we find the story of the Tower of Babel. Here we can see in verse 6 what can happen when men put their heads together on an agreed purpose. “And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”

Imagination is a powerful force and it seems that if someone can think it, someone else can make it happen. And just like the times of that famous tower, when men get their heads together in agreement what takes place is a power play for control. Oh to be sure they reasoned in their hearts what benefit a tower reaching God could have to the whole community, but as always is the case, beneficial advances in technology become tools of control for those who have the upper hand.

Today we have seen powerful advances in science and technology that promise enhanced freedom, prosperity and security to mankind, but can we trust those who have their hands on the controls to use them for that purpose. No . . . or should I say ‘Hell No!’

For this reason our Founding Fathers labored with such great energy and determination to give us the ‘U.S. Constitution’ and ‘The Bill of Rights’ so that the evil of those who seek power and control over others could be constrained and broken whenever it reared its ugly head. The principles found in these documents come straight from the Judeo Christian teachings of the Bible and from the hearts of men and women who, throughout history, fought for the rights and liberties of free men.

Today we see another tower being built up. Those who seek to build this new behemoth under the auspices of the ‘uniting of mankind’ are not looking to climb up and see God, they want rather to cast him down from the memory of men and obliterate any knowledge that God ever existed. To do this they must control the minds of men and the resources God gave to mankind for our common benefit.

If the American people are to escape the terrible plans which those now in power have for us we must return to the ideals and principles of those sacred documents which empowered us as a nation of free men. And we must return again unashamedly to the God who inspired those who labored so diligently to espouse the truths found therein.

God scattered the people to protect us from ourselves and those trying to unite us again as ‘One World’ might want to take a look at Psalm 2: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

When the spy camera’s of Big brother look down on the American people let them see not just the crowds gathered in cities and parks crying for uniformity, but let them instead peer into the eyes of a determined people who refuse to become a part of the controlled masses; a people who recognize the values that made America an exceptional nation of exceptional people who will never give up the fight for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. We must resist the temptation to give in and give up and find again, in our time, the strength to resist those who threaten to take away what God has given us and what those who came before us fought and died to preserve.

For a look at what modern technology has given to Big Brother visit this link:

http://www.gigapixel.com/image/gigapan-canucks-g7.html


God’s Chosen Fast

In Isaiah 58 God calls Israel away from their practice of a self serving religion to devotion to a higher purpose. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? (verses 6-7)

Throughout history we see the massive damage that was done by Adams relinquishing of his kingdom to the adversary in the Garden of Eden. When given the opportunity to choose obedience over self desire he chose unwisely. In doing so he handed over all that which God had given him to the control of his enemy the serpent, the most cunning of all the beasts of the field. From that day the King of the earth to whom God had given all authority began to live a life of servitude. The very beast of the field to whom Adam himself had given the name ‘serpent’ had tricked him into a life where Adam now became the servant, eking out his life from the field.

In many ways America has been an example of a people called out to live the true faith of obedience to God, and much of our history reveals a core desire to do so. God’s hand of favor was evident here and we were known worldwide for our prosperity, generosity, mercy and strength. When enemies rose up against us or against other freedom loving peoples, we would defeat them and instead of taking the spoils for ourselves we would invest in the rebuilding of those nations toward a better future of liberty for their people. We were peacemakers and many saw us as a nation of the children of God. (Matt. 5:9)

Much like God’s chosen fast of breaking the yokes of bondage and setting the captives free, we were a God fearing people who were not ashamed to be known as a Christian nation. No matter what the atheists of today would infer, one need only visit the court houses and government buildings of our past, or read the speeches and prayers of our greatest leaders and they will see evidence of a belief in the God of the Bible in all of our written documents, our architecture, and in the motto’s and confessions of America’s national creeds. Daily battles our now raging in our courts to have these memorials of our Christian history torn away and it remains to be seen what the final outcome will be.

Though there are certainly many churches, spiritual leaders, organizations and individuals who have not forsaken these ideals of faith and spirituality, as a nation we have now become much like the Israel that Isaiah rebuked with this message from God. Much of what we see in the public forum of leadership and faith has become self seeking and self serving. If the current popular Christian message and media truly represent our impressions of God’s desire for his Church I believe we are a people headed for harsh correction from the Lord.

At such a time as this God’s messengers have one purpose! Cry aloud and spare not! If America is to survive and become again the bulwark of freedom and a voice of truth in the world it will take a hard word from those who are called to speak. It is time for a wake up call to a slumbering nation. We must choose again whether we will pick from the tree that is being offered by the serpent or reject his enticements and put his neck under our feet. Jesus, through his sacrifice on the cross, has again given us the power to choose between freedom or servitude, but what we will choose remains to be seen?

Isaiah not only calls us to a true faith but he also echo’s God’s promises for those who will hear his words and obey. “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. . . and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”

Let us pray that we can turn aside from our self seeking as individuals and as representatives of the Church in America before it is too late. Those of us who call ourselves by the worthy name of Christ must realize that we are blessed by God and that we too are called to the higher purposes found in Isaiah chapter 58. I would recommend that those who read this article will read that entire chapter and ask themselves where they stand in these things.

I believe that God’s promises cannot fail and though we may not see them now with our eyes we will one day see all that He has promised come to pass. Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” If that is true than as his disciples neither is ours.

May God bless us again as a people and as a nation,

Craig Marlatt


A Prayer Of David

Psalms 102

A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the Lord.

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.

By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top. Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me. For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down. My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.

But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations. Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.

When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD. For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.

He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days. I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.


End Times Or Just Hard Times?

The growing economic crisis in America and Europe will likely bring with it a vast number of prophetic ministries showing how this is proof of an End Times scenario fulfilling many Bible prophecies. Truly in our time we have not faced anything so difficult as we are now with rising prices, falling employment, failing morality, falling spiritual leaders, fleeing confidence and fighting political parties. Add to that the mid-east hatred of Israel and you have a real soup of happenings that can make the day for professional predictors. Supposing it is indeed the ‘Beginning of Sorrows’ as stated in Matthew 24 verse 8 what should we as Christians be doing?

Though there are many predictions of what to expect in Matthew 24 in the way of suffering, anti-Christian persecution, imprisonment and death there is only one instruction of what to do during ‘The Beginning of Sorrows’ and it’s found in verse 13: “But he that shall endure unto the end shall be saved”. That’s good advice for every day at anytime in my book.

Though many today are pointing to the rise in recent earthquake activities, according o the US Geological Survey this is not really what is happening. According to their measuring there has been no significant rise in earthquake activities in this current century, and in fact activities have even decreased in recent years. (See link at end of this article.)

I think the better plan for believers is found in verse 42: “Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” In other words, we should be ready right now and always on our guard watching.

Contrary to popular heathen advice I don’t think if someone lives for the devil but cries out “Jesus save me” in the last minute of their life they will hear an conforting choir of angel voices from heaven. They might be better off telling their friends “Prop me up by the jukebox if I die”. There’s no promise from God concerning such a foolish approach to salvation. On the other hand those who claim to know Christ but keep living on the risky edge hoping for a last minute reprieve might want to reconsider their approach to faith too.

Truthfully we should always be ready to for the Lord’s return by living lives of trust, hope and outreach. If you live in such a way you need not worry about when He is coming for you, but it should ramp up your concern for those around you who don’t know Him.

If Christians truly are the ones with whom God has entrusted the medicine that can heal the sickness born from sin we have work to do. Day by day the disease of unbelief and paganism is spreading and we have the cure. “But what can I do?” some might ask. Put on your white robes and your white nursing shoes (Eph. 6:15) and start visiting patients. You might be surprised how miserable times like this can give those who were too busy to listen yesterday an open ear and a ready heart today.

Whether we are in the End Times or just in Hard Times, either way it can work for our advantage if we will see this as an opportunity rather than a curse. God once saw such times as an opportunity to save the world. (see Gal. 4:4-5)

Link to US Geological Survey results:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/faq/?faqID=11


The Mysterious Power of Faith

It is getting harder lately to find anyone who really believes that America can survive the current turmoil and tumult in our economy, our morality and our political confusion. And who can blame them really? It isn’t easy to find any hope if one listens to the media, reads the papers, follows politics or even talks to his neighbors. If you have any background in economics you might feel better about the potential of a ‘Tiny Tim’s Greatest Hits CD’ release than about the chances for an economic turnaround in America.

Recently the numbers of those seen visiting the grave of Jack Kevorkian have gone up and a brief poll has discovered that 92% of them watch C-Span on a daily basis. As my British grandmother might have said, “This is one sticky wicket”.

In the book of Hebrews we read this statement, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” If ever there was a need for faith for America that time is now. Even the octogenarians have quit reminding us of their tough times with the old, “Why in my days” complaint. They’re too busy on eBay selling off the things they were planning to leave to their grand kids for fear that their Social Security checks may stop coming any day now.

Still (and a lunatic I may indeed be) I have hope for our country. Not so much because of what I see happening today in America (although I am impressed greatly by the grassroots Tea Party Movement) but because of the nature of God. We must always remember that hope is the foundation of faith, and faith in God reminds us that “With God all things are possible.” Let the Church say AMEN!

God, being a covenant keeper, is not unaccustomed to looking backwards to His former faithful servants to justify having mercy upon those of the current time. (You might want to consult Abraham and David about that.) Anyone who knows anything about America’s great history knows that there are plenty of reasons for God to spare her based solely upon those who came before us. One look back to our Puritan history and the Founding Fathers of our nation might be enough to still His hand. And the last two hundred plus years have yielded a host of great men and women of faith who have served this country and sacrificed in missions, service to those less fortunate, and in righteous wars against evil oppressors around the world. Surely their sacrifice, dedication and prayers have not escaped the notice of our Loving Heavenly Father.

As the Church in America wrestles with its current trend toward mediocrity, extreme tolerance and moral weakness, there are those among us who genuinely desire a return to the True Faith. After decades of scandal and ‘out of the box’ theology and practice, many are seeing the futility of such things and are genuinely desiring a new restoration of the Church in America and a return to Biblical faith and practice. This surely is reason for hope if you are one who has been disturbed and frustrated by these things.

Paul in his writing to the Christians in Rome wrote, For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (Romans 8:24-25)

So wait I will, but not with the twiddling of thumbs. My waiting must be that of one who hopes, knowing that faith is hope with legs. My faith for America ‘s survival as a free nation and return to her Christian roots is based upon my faith in the God of Covenants. And if I am found waiting in faith, no matter what happens, I know that it is better than just giving up to our enemies within, without and especially those from below.

Let us join together in prayer for this great nation. We may need to temporarily glance backwards for inspiration, but we gaze forward in the hope that God still hears the prayers of the faithful and that He sees value in a future America which has overcome the follies of our present time.


And Now . . . the Rest of the Story

Most Americans are familiar with the famous line above from Paul Harvey’s daily radio program. But have you ever thought about this in reference to your life? Most of us spend way too much time thinking about the past and about the good or bad of it; the woulda, coulda, shoulda of our lives or of others we know. In fact one of the devil’s favorite pastimes is to point to all of the things that didn’t go so well and accuse us of our mistakes and failures. And when he sees that his work is being effective he brings in the underworld version of ‘Sing Along With Mitch’ to add to the chorus of our bad decisions. I’ve made my share so I get regular visits from ol’ slue foot and his traveling band.

That’s why the Apostle Paul wrote, “. . . but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. (Phil. 3:13,14) He was very familiar with the adversary’s methods and, having his own past to deal with he found a way to put it all behind him. He settled his debt with the Cross of Christ and moved on. (Gal. 2:20)

Every day we live is another chance to put the past behind us and go forward into a better future. I like what Jack Hayford once said: “Whenever the devil reminds me of my past, I remind him of his future.” That’s good advice for anyone looking to shake off the doldrums. Someone once asked me in one of my less upbeat moments, “With all the different things you’ve done in your life what has the Lord best prepared you to be?” My response at the time was, “A blues singer.” Anyone who knows me well also knows I can’t pass up an opportunity like that for a good one-liner but the real truth is just the opposite. What God has prepared me to be is a conqueror, and even MORE than a conqueror. Why more? Because as a Christian I get the benefit of Jesus’ victories. No matter what things I’ve managed to win, lose or draw in life, Christ won all of his battles and He gives me his victories in place of my failures. In other words, Jesus’ trophies are on my shelf. What a Team Captain He is.

If you woke up breathing today your future can still be bright. I like the speech from the movie Braveheart that William Wallace gave before the first great battle. “You’ve come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom?” That’s a good question for us today.

Anyone who doesn’t live on Denial River can see that both our nation and our world are in desperate straits right now. You couldn’t get more than a few pennies on eBay for the economy, morality or confidence that is on sale right now in the media. But those of us who know Christ have a different Source of information. In our Book we can see the end result before we reach the finish line, and guess what? We come out alright. In fact . . . we come out ON TOP. It doesn’t mean that we won’t go through a great battle . . . or that we won’t lose some along the way. But in the end WE WIN! You might want to keep that in mind in the days ahead. If you can’t remember that part of the story you might want to read the last couple chapters from The Book of the Revelation.

So what would you really do over if you had the chance? Would you tell someone how much you loved them? Would you ask someone for forgiveness or forgive someone who hurt you? Would you spend less time accumulating things and more time with God in the Bible and prayer? Would you finally go meet that neighbor who has lived next door or down the street and tell them about Christ?  Would you start praying regularly for family members and others? Would you cut the lawn of a senior citizen or disabled who lives down the street or go and pay them a visit? Would you sponsor that starving child you’ve been thinking about or send a check to those Christian workers you so admire? Would you write that song you’ve had in your heart all these years, or dance with someone you love? Would you quit thinking about your own problems for a while and look around you at those in need? Would you put away those golf clubs or video games for a while and volunteer with some of the extra time you have? Would you finally surrender your whole life to Christ and quit holding back?

Now’s the time! The future is all you have left and whether it be short or long it’s in your hands to do with as you see fit. It’s your time for “The rest of the story.” Why not make it something you will feel good about when you stand before the Lord? Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Go for it!