Chronavirus: Facemasks, Trials, Depression, and Joy in the Madness

As the madness of the year 2020 rolls on and as we approach the midpoint of the year, there seems to be a spiritual low point going on, especially in my life. Just when we thought the chronavirus saga was dying down, it once again swirled back up as health officials claim there is an upsurge in cases and once again, cities across the United States are either shutting down, or placing ridiculous ordinances such as forcing those outside to wear a mask. As someone who is single, whose family mostly lives out of town, and who desires to work for the Kingdom and be involved in a local Church, it is impossibly frustrating and aggravating what is going on at this present time. I am physically, and spiritually tired and drained. 

Whether or not you believe the chronavirus is real or some kind of political ruse is not really the major problem that is going on. And whether you believe masks can stop chronavirus, or is some kind of weird power trip by Karens running the government is not the point. What is going on, as I stated in previous articles, is that there is a demonic spirit at work in the United States and in every fabric of public life that we live in. How anyone cannot see the masks, and the “social distancing” signs and not think that it is demonic is beyond me. 

What makes the mask so eerie and wrong is that they dehumanize a person that is wearing one. No longer can you see the person’s face. No longer can you see their facial expressions. No love or hate, no smile or frown, no general curiosity or disgust, no friendly gestures or sarcastic smirks, no laughter or agony. Hell, sometimes you cannot even hear the person talking depending on if they are wearing a bandana or not. It is just a blank slake. Sure, some people can choose to wear custom made masks or other headgear to show uniqueness or personality. But ultimately everyone is anonymous when it comes to the masks. It reminds me of what we are online. Social media and the internet in general is full of anonymous posers, fakers, and other “blank” people that can do or say whatever their heart pleases. Even in the world of social media, we are only static pictures of what we want to show the world. No one ever poses a pic of themselves in their bed crying at night, in the bathroom puking because of an overdose, in their car after a severe bout of depression, or on their knees in their closet praying to God for a miracle. No, none of these things we dare show to the internet. We only want to show an illusion of what we want to be instead of who we really are deep down inside. 

It is easy to backslide into old habits and old pasts in a time like this when you have no work, no friends, nothing to do, no one to hang out with, and are isolated. It is easy to slide into pornography, drugs, social media baffonary, video game addiction, junk food addiction, alcohol, and all the other vices of mans heart. We become more abusive to our family, more sharp-tongued against our neighbors, and turn our rage against our fellow man at a store for just doing their job. The children are abused and the elderly are neglected. Through this one moment in time, God is exposing the hidden idols of man’s heart and putting even the elect to the test. It is especially hard for single people like me who suffer from extreme loneliness and depression. It is very hard being forced to be at home when you have no one to come home to. The places to hang out are shut down. And no one wants to hangout because they are afraid of the virus. It is a NEET’s paradise come to life as we are all now living the gamer’s lifestyle. This is in contrast to the married individual, who will now be put to the test as he is forced to spend all day with their family as the jobs they escaped to have been taken away. In a lot of cases, married people experience extreme loneliness, some even worse than singles. A lot of people have no job anymore. Careers have been crushed and identities have been trampled on. 

It’s one thing during times of peace to be gung-ho saying we must have love and joy during troubled times. It’s another when you are right in the middle of a nationwide crisis, so much so that your mental patience is being challenged as all your social activities and work are shut down and your vices and deep fears of isolation are brought before you forcibly. It is a massive disadvantage spiritually to live in a country like the United States due to the fact we have so many distractions, pleasures and idols we can dive into to feed our flesh. We are well fed and well entertained. The Romans had bread and circuses, and in America we have Pornhub and McDonalds to keep us from opening our eyes to what is going on. The only reason why the country is not in total meltdown mode is because we still have access to plenty of food and no one is starving.

But while we may not be starving physically, we are starving spiritually. Just this past week I spent a portion of my Sunday seeing if there was a church open. And yet there were none. Despite some states and municipalities easing restrictions on churches, many of them choose to be closed or move their services online. And I get it why many church leaders are choosing to stay closed. What if someone’s child or an elderly person gets sick and dies? No one wants that in their conscience. And who can forget the army of lawyers salivating over the thought of suing a church like a bunch of vultures circling a dying man. No pastor ever wants to deal with a shyster lawyer. 

Still, most of my depression is the desire to do meaningful work in the local church and the frustration over being locked down for already questionable reasons. I cannot be the only one feeling this. The truth is, no matter how many zoom calls, or streaming online services we do, it is still not what makes church “church.” The church is a community, a family of people of all types of backgrounds. Yet the one thing we have in common is that we are followers of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. We stir each other up to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another. It’s not the business of Christianity Inc and Big Eva that I am hurting over but the overall community in lockdown mode and people getting split over how the church should respond. 

It is a very messy situation with no clear cut answer.  because no one knows what is really going on right now or what is true and what is false. What is true and not false is that the situation going on is leaving people isolated and splitting the Bride of Christ in two. There is an army of lawyers, media scoundrels, Karens with iphones, and law enforcement ready to pounce on a local church to bring them down as has already happened with many churches.

Still, there is a silver lining to all this madness. God is in control, and always uses something as bad as a pandemic to further His glory. Many people are now waking up and taking the red pill. Many are finally coming to, and coming back to Christ. As the madness of the world grows, the Bible gets more magnified. As darkness overtakes the land, the gospel shines more brighter. Church leaders are hard at work and being creative to not neglect the elect. Some are having outdoor meetings,  some are using a drive-in approach. Others are going back to the original method of home church or small groups, meeting at a home where they will not be harassed by law enforcement. The church leaders are hard at work to make sure their flock is fed and kept safe. 

Despite the work God is doing in the background, that does not make this trial any less painful. How exactly does one have joy in the face(mask) of such wild mental calamity? Love and joy are some of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that all believers should have. It is one thing to have joy during times of peace, it’s another when you are going through times of trials and tribulations. Yet God ordains the changing of the times and the seasons of our life. And God has written eternity on all of man’s heart. It is a part of being created in His image, that we were originally designed to be eternal beings. Yet we are so focused on the now and the things of this world which are passing away. We desire pleasure and to avoid all pain instead of looking at our seasons through the lens of eternity. This is a symptom of the fall and man’s sinful nature.

Still how can one find joy in a time of suffering? It is interesting reading John and the Priestly Prayer of Jesus Christ before his coronation on the cross: 

John 16:19- 22: 19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? 20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

This is in context of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, but the point I am making is that we are so focused on the pain of the moment instead of looking at the bigger picture of our sanctification and the new birth. Suffering and pain can co-exist. A pregnant woman has both suffering and joy. Suffering from the labor pains but rejoicing because she is bringing a newborn to the world. A sick man may be in pain and suffering through brutal treatment, but rejoices when he is cured of his aliment. A soldier may suffer the trials and tribulations of his training, but rejoices when his perfected warcraft brings him victory over his enemy. Though we are suffering now, we hope for a better future, a better tomorrow, and a new heavens and new Earth because of the cross of Christ and the gospel of salvation. It is written that creation itself is groaning in labor pains, as do we who believe in the Name above all names. As believers we have the first fruits of the Spirit, we groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, and the resurrection of our bodies. 

Nothing lasts forever and nothing is new under the sun. God has ordained the passages of our lives and the fact is, every human being goes through trials and tribulations. Believers and pagans, young and old, married and single, rich and poor, familys, tribes, and nations, and even the world itself cannot escape the storm. It is written also that all men are appointed to die once, then face the judgement. Though it might seem that the world is against you, the fact is no one knows what goes through their neighbor or brother’s heart except God himself. 

God disciplines and rebukes those who He loves. Could it be God is preparing us for the real persecution to come? After all, the churches being shutdown due to the virus is nothing compared to the historic and continued persecution of believers in Christ where life and death is one the line. We are a very rich and fat nation with much to lose while those of other countries and cultures have nothing to lose other than their life and many are gladly willing to die for the faith if they ever receive such an honor. Will those in the United States who claim to believe in Christ be willing to possibly go to jail or even lose their life for Christ and the gospel? Jesus even said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. With man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. I am in no way downplaying persecution of the church in the United States because many, and I mean many, have paid dearly for following Christ in the US in the forms of breakups, divorces, job loses, friendship losses, family disownment, monetary losses, and much much more. But it is one thing facing these 1st world problems and another when you are staring at the barrel of a gun and your life’s on the line. Will we pass the test or be like Peter and deny Him? I write this to you because I have thought about this scenario for myself many times over, if I have that strong enough faith of Jesus Christ that I will be willing to lay down my life for the gospel. Thank God that He is merciful and if that time ever arises that the Holy Spirit will give us strength. It is something to think about and meditate over. 

Despite going through severe depression, I will give thanks to the Lord because by gazing at the cross of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, I know that He has loved me and has cleansed me of my many sins. I have been blessed multiple times in my life despite not earning or deserving any of them. And even if I was not blessed, He still deserves my praise because God’s greatness of Holiness is beyond any human or heavenly host’s comprehension. Let us be joyful of our trial as the day of the Lord draws near when all tears will be dried up and all pain will fade. 

Poem: The Creator God/The Sinful work of man

How great are you? Creator God.

You spoke the world into existence.

You crafted the Heavens of the universe.

Oceans and Sky.

Sun and Moon.

Beast of Earth and Sea.

From dust you made Man. And breathed life into his nostrils.

All of these are crafted from your mouth.

Mighty is the Word of the Creator God Almighty.

What is a man’s work compared to you God?

All a man’s toil is meaningless, all turns to ash. 

From dust we are made, to dust we will become and all in our wake is ash.

Cities created,  and by the winds of the west, cities destroyed.

Nations rise up, and by the winds of the east are blown away.

Men can build great legacies and bring glory to themselves.

But in the end all is folly.

A mere generation can destroy everything a mighty man makes.

Their inheritance wasted, their empires crumble, their works thrown away in the bin.

And all that remains is a footnote in forgotten books in forgotten tongues.

The mightiest works of men are nothing but filthy rags to your sight oh God.

A wretched stench it brings forth.

Unsightly to your eyes.

Blashemphy to your ears.

Tasteless, and unfeeling. 

It is written that man’s pride is an abomination to you Almighty God.

Yet we erect our pride like a statue in a city. 

Haughty and arrogant. 

How horrible is it, the hearts of man, oh God?

We build with our hands idols to satisfy our own desires.

Wicked is the man who creates their own gods and chases after them.

Their bellies are never filled.

Their members are never satisfied.

A constant chasing after wind is their life.

A constant yearning for flesh that dies.

In the end we build with our hands darkened hearts.

Hearts that are hardened by life’s iniquity that we drink desperately like water.

Our work turns to weapons. Our tongues spit out daggers.

No mercy, no remorse, unforgiving, unloving, and with no appreciation.

In the end the building that is our heart crashes down by the storms of life.

Because that house was not built on the rock, but the sand.

You Lord, are the crusher of idols!

With your powerful hammer you break a man’s spirit.

The wicked have no rest, the unjust have no quarter.

The wise man who builds libraries has become a fool.

The Rich man who has built treasure in their houses has become poor.

Those who amass the praises of men have become infamous in a blink of an eye.

Those who build their lives on seeking the pleasures of this life die soulless.

Those who sow the wind against you, have reaped the whirlwind of your wrath.

The wages of a man’s sinful work is death.

His body deteriorates

His mind grows dim.

His love waxes cold.

We chase after the wind of our youth but in the end we end up our sinful hopes and dream of iniquities crumble into the dust we were made. To dust we are made to dust we will become. 

The soul that sins dies. 

In the end the hearts we craft in our own image are abominable, disgusting, abhorrent, and wretched. 

What man can compare to the mighty works of the living God?

Who can compare to God’s masterpiece? The cross of His only Begotten Son.

From the moment man fell, you began a great work to bring redemption.

Though the Earth was flooded by the waters of your wrath, you merely cleared the foundation.

Through an old woman’s dead womb, you brought forth the son of the promise.

Through your signs and wonders you brought your chosen people out of a powerful nation.

Year after year, generation after generation.

Your mighty judgement and redemption was echoed through the ages.

Until the final piece of your grand plan was erected.

The Son of God lifted up, crucified, as an atonement for our iniquities.

Though we were still sinners, the Christ, the Messiah, died for us. 

The Ultimate work of your glory. The ultimate symbol of your infinite love.

Who can stand before this work that not even the angels can comprehend?

What man can truly comprehend the gospel? This masterpiece you have made?

For God can speak galaxies upon galaxies into existence.

But dare I say what makes you the most Holy of craftsman is what you do with man’s corrupt heart with the blood of your only begotten Son.

For with this blood you wash away a man’s sin and give him a new heart.

Not of stone, but of flesh, with your law written on it.

To break a prideful spirit into one that is poor and needy for your grace.

To give them a spirit of mourning, so you can comfort them.

To shatter their hatefulness and put in its place, meekness.

To put in them a thirst for righteousness.

To craft in them a spirit of mercy.

A pure heart you craft from an abominable heart.

A peacemaker you make them instead of a warmonger.

Sons of God you create from the ashes of a hellbound heart.

From a fearful heart, you made them bold in the face of persecution.

Blessed they truly are!

Holy is the Lord who saves the wretched man with the blood of the Lamb.

Holy is the Lord who wraps them with the Holy Spirit, who plants the seeds of his salvation.

Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who is all loving, all powerful, all merciful, who wipes the tears of those suffering a broken heart. In Him we find rest from our works. To those who trust in their own works, He will judge them accordingly, but to those who trust in the works of His only Begotten Son, He gives them eternal life, and the right to be called sons of God.

What Is Everyone Really Hoping For?

America, the western world, and the globe as a whole, has been through traumatic days in the past couple of months from the Coronavirus Pandemic, to its economic, cultural and political consequences, to the ongoing protest over the death of George Floyd. We certainly live in interesting times. Of course, being a keen observer of culture and the sign of the times, I see a culture of fear, anger, and a general madness sweeping the United States. It seems you can’t go anywhere on the web without the culture talking about the crisis-of-the-month or turn on the TV and be bombarded with native advertising, horrific news, talking heads with agendas, and general buffoonery. And while you can always switch off the TV, or put the cellphone down, the general feeling is one of a broken morale. It is very hard to see a smile behind a mask or join with friends at a bar when everyone is living on the edge.

This brings me to a very difficult question (when you think about it) to followers of Jesus Christ: What are people’s real hope? What are people living for? What drives them? What do they really protest about? Is the hope we are living for worth even living in? Is the hope we live for worth fighting over it? Is the hope we live for worth dying for? What is the endgame of our hope?

It cannot be said enough that we live in a broken, sinful world, with sinful men and demonic principalities pulling the strings of the current broken system, or cosmos we are in. If you live outside the western world where real persecution of followers of Christ is taking place, you know exactly what I am talking about. But the problem in the United States is people do not know just how screwed up the “system” really is, or just how depraved and wicked a man’s heart really is. And while some may claim they have a form of godliness, they over all deny its power. If man cannot understand how broken the world is, and how the judgement is coming, then how can he have any form of real hope if they think everything is ok? If you are using Jesus Christ’s sacrifice as a “get-out-of-hell-free card” you are missing the whole point and just the magnitude of His’s sacrifice and of God’s infinite love and mercy that no man, not even angels, can comprehend

What is going on in the world currently is not even the tip of the iceberg to the major problems that are really going on. Many people want to focus or do massive group-think or have a hive mind mentality when it comes to the wrongs of the world when they can’t, or won’t step back and look at the sheer cosmic state of our world. There is massive unemployment going on, and the jobs currently available are service-based part time work. What is even more tragic is the loss of meaning in our work, or even the shattering of the idol known as the life-long-career and the college degree. We can thank the baby boomer generation for propping that one up. Abortion went from a solumn activity to celebrated by demonic women. Even the Baal worshipers were not that deranged when it came to child sacrifice. There is a very deep generational plague of loneliness and isolation being lashed upon the millennial and zoomer generation that I can’t even begin to scratch the surface of. Violence is being escalated, both physically and psychological thanks to social media. The most striking thing I am witnessing is the unforgiving nature of people. The apology has been weaponized. 

And this is only a small fraction of our deep heart problems.

This again, leads with the question: What is our hope? For some, it is money and a career. But glory from a career fades, all turns to dust, and possessions and fortunes are scattered. This is meaningless, and a great misfortune. For some, it is activism, to be a part of something greater than yourself. But this too, is meaningless. Political false messiahs come and go. Political parties come and go. And all is left is the ash bins of history. This is also vanity and a great evil. Some just check out entirely and live for pleasure and to satisfy all their desires.  But in the end, everything is meaningless, they chase after the wind, and nothing is gained under the sun. What type of life is that? 

This is why the cross of Christ is so powerful when put in the context of this broken world. That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That His death, burial, and resurrection is the real, true hope we have. This is not some demented ticket to get out of Hell that Christianity Inc has watered down to, but precious sacrificial blood to give to an all powerful, all righteous, all merciful, all loving Holy God. This is perfect blood, provided by God himself, as a free gift, before the foundations of the world were set in place, to cleanse one’s sin. This is the door to the Ark, provided by God himself, before the coming judgement. Where God will judge the world with fire, and everything will be made new. The fact is, the world as we know it, with our sinful natures and the sinful nature of others is hopeless without salvation from God himself. 

This hope we have isn’t just about the resurrection of the dead. But it is the new birth. To be born again with a new heart. To love the things of God and not of this world. To receive the Holy Spirit, that helps and comforts us. To grow is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That Jesus Christ has won the battle, and His Kingdom is here and advancing further. That Christ has overcome the world, and that we have peace. What will a man do to have peace in his heart? 

Even with this real hope, there is still a struggle to grasp this way, truth and life that is Jesus. We struggle and toil with our problems and issues. Struggle, failure, heartbrokenness, strife, depression, suffering, and death are all storms that come in our life. It is easy for a man to become a beast and curse God in the middle of the whirlwind and end up becoming a child of hell. Yet God is there in the middle of the storm. God is there with us in the darkest valley, guiding our path with His staff. It is easy for man to curse God in His and lose hope in His distress, but it takes real power, only through the Holy Spirit, to praise God and have joyous hope in your heart in your distress and pain. 

As an ecclesia, we must examine ourselves. Are we holding on to this real hope? Are we sharing this real hope? Are we turning to a secular doctrine of demons? Or doctrines of grace? Where are we putting our faith in? Are we looking at the world through the secular eyes or the lens of the scriptures? Are we putting our faith in our works? Or the work that Jesus already did? Are we putting hope in a political messiah, or constitution, or putting hope in the risen King and His eternal Word? 

My brothers and sister, I challenge you to have joy in these dark days. We have real hope. Not hope like the world has, but hope that brings salvation to men. 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

George Floyd, Sin, The Gospel, What is Really Going and Hope.

It has been a difficult week for America as the protests and riots of George Floyd’s death by Minnosota police officers continues. There has been a nearly unprecedented, worldwide rioting and demonstrations over his death and the real conflict between the black community and law inforcment. 

I recommend listening to a great podcast called “Just Thinking” specifically the episode where they discuss George Floyd and the gospel. I agree with nearly everything these brothers in Christ say. But one part really struck out at me that gets to the heart of what is wrong with the American church today in the context of the violent protesting going on. The serious question of what people think the gospel is? What do Americans, and even the whole western world think the gospel really is? This goes at the crux, the very heart at why the church is in the state it is in, with many falling away from the faith and going to charletons who will scratch their itching ears and tell them what they want them to hear (2 Timothy 4:3). 

Overall, I agree with what Darrell Harrison’s and Virgil Walker’s theory is that people in America do not believe what the Bible says is true. They either have no respect for the Bible, don’t believe in it’s power, or flat out reject God’s word. It is a simple matter of unbelief. Despite the whirlwind of issues relating to police brutality and the black community, all of which have now been politicized, the real crux of the issues at hand have to do with the wickedness of the human heart (Mark 7:21-23). Racism is a heart issue. No amount of policy changes, rioting, or protesting can change the human heart. But even though it is impossible with man, all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). Only God can change the heart of man (Deuteronomy 30:6) and give them a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). This comes by hearing and having faith in God’s only begotten son, Jesus Christ (Romans 10:17). 

Still. There are so many reasons why western “christianity” is in the state it is in and the issue is too complex for one article. But what we are seeing with so many people on the streets rioting, some almost mindlessly, is the fruits of deep generational unbelief in anything Godly. Thus the wrath of God is being revealed towards them, and they became vain in their reasoning and their senseless minds were darkened (Romans 1:21). People are so broad-minded on this issue of social justice and systematic racism, that they are not looking at the bigger, more cosmic picture. That being the issue of man’s sinful heart, and that we all, of every race, tribe, nation, and tongue, deserve to die and suffer the wrath of God. Instead this wicked and adulterous generation chooses to satisfy their flesh and indulge in their hatred and vengeance. And the saddest part is man, yes many, approve of the violent protesting and rioting. (Romans 1:32)

As followers of Christ who are living in troubled times, we should fear no evil, for God is in control of all things. And even in this darkness He is doing His good work. We should always remember the hope we have in the resurrected messiah Jesus, who himself went through trials and tribulations but overcame the world. And nothing can separate us from Christ Jesus. 

Psalm 27:1

John 14:27

John 16:33

Romans 8:37-39

Let us be cheerful and joyful in this situation as the Bible is getting more magnified everyday. Let us not be discouraged or alarmed, but let us put our lamps on a stand and not hide our hope from the world. We also need to be bold and tell people the truth about God’s love and the hope we have in Christ Jesus. Preachers and Pastors have got to stand up and boldly preach against sin and the true hope of the cross and not try to virtue signal or get in the muck of social justice. Only the word of God can cut through the hearts of man and deal with the root problem of our sinful nature (Hebrews 4:12).

Above all else, we must pray earnestly for peace and that all men of every race, of every tribe, of every nation, and every tongue, repent and believe the good news. That though we were sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6 -11:  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Just Thinking Podcast: https://thebarpodcast.com/JT/index.php/2020/06/01/george-floyd-and-the-gospel/

As America Burns, We Must Ask Ourselves Difficult Questions…

America is reeling today after nearly three days of rioting. This is in response to cellphone video of white police officers killing George Floyd, a black man, after one of the officers pressed his knee onto Floyd’s neck for several minutes and ignored pleas that he could not breathe. This shocking footage sparked some of the worst riots since Rodney King and the report going around is that there will be more rioting and protesting in the coming days. 

Even for a hardened internet vetran like myself who has seen countless cellphone videos on the internet of reality going down, both Floyd’s death and the ensuing rioting that occurred was sad, shocking, and surreal. Nearly every major city in the United States had some form of protest or riot where people got hurt and businesses got destroyed. This included police precincts burning down in some strange and eerily similar to the Storming of the Bastille that sparked the French Revolution in 1789. And while I would not comprare this situation to something so historically important as the French Revolution, we are currently living in a flash point moment in American history. 

With Donald Trump’s unprecedented election, the Corona Pandemic happening, the rise of mega tech companies like Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and the controversy of internet censorship, with the rise of the spirit of isolation and fear, with the eruption of violent protesting, with the overall spirit of the times: It is now more important than ever to get right with God, spread the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. And to be prepared. As predicted in the Bible, there is coming, and has come a time when God will judge the world again. This day is called the Judgement, or The Day of the Lord in scripture, where God globally judge the world and he makes everything new again. It is written that we do not know when that time or hour will come. Only the Father knows and anyone who claims they do is a fool or a false prophet. Jesus Christ does tell us to watch for the seasons and to be watchful, because we do not know when that hour will come as explained in the Olivet Discourse:

 The Parable of the Fig Tree

32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that [e]it is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

No One Knows the Day or Hour

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of [f]heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what [g]hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what [h]hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

We should also be watchful of the spirit of the times and the spirit of the end of the age as Paul explains to Timothy: 

 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Are we at the end of the world? The truth is we do not know and no one knows when that day will come. Men thought the end of the world was happening during the French Revolution, and the world continued on. People thought the end of the world was happening during World War II, and the world continued on. This is the same feeling that happens to all believers when their country is going through turmoil. America is no different and it is arrogant to believe that the turmoil happening to America will guarantee the second coming of Christ. After all, many, yes many, more countries have suffered far worse in their respective history. I guarantee that during the American Civil War, the most brutal conflict that ever happened to the United States, people thought the end times were approaching. Yet, the world continued on. Nothing is new under the sun.

That being said, the times and age we are living in is changing thanks to technology and the internet. And while technology may change, the human condition and sin never do. Nothing is new under the sun. We are living in an age where social media dominates most of our lives with a wicked and adulterous generation who are lovers of themselves, boastful, and proud as you see with the self-gratification of the selfie, snarky comment, and prideful moments people wish to show you. And as we see with the riots, we are a generation without self-control, brutal, rash, conceited and treacherous. We claim to have a form of godliness. Some of us even claim Christ, yet we deny His power and instead of loving one another and the power of forgiveness, we show our unholiness and expose our unloving, unforgiving nature. 

What is even more disturbing is the growing culture of fear that has grown exponentially since the beginning of the Chronavirus pandemic. There is a sad culture of isolation growing and a pandemic of heart-killing loneliness. No longer can we see a smile that might brighten our day. We just see a mask. People are afraid, and are suspicious. This is a growing powder keg of spiritual death. 

I read a great article on ChristianityToday how George Floyd left a Gospal Legacy in Houstin which you can read here: https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/may/george-floyd-ministry-houston-third-ward-church.html

What happened to George Floyd was a tragedy beyond belief. Someone lost their son. Someone lost a friend. And the real animosity between the Black Community and law enforcement continues. The sad fact is that this happens everyday. Officers kill people everyday (whether accidentally, maliciously, or justifiably. And on the flip side, Officers get killed everyday for miniscule stuff. Being a cop is a tough, hard, and thankless job. This is just another example of our fallen nature and the need for a new Heaven and New Earth that God will provide after the Day of the Lord where Death itself will be cast into the lake of fire and sin will be no more. 

With the protests turning into violent rioting, we have to ask ourselves why we are doing this and what are our motives? If you claim to have Christ and are involved in the protest you must examine yourself. Are you doing this to try and get legit justice or are you doing this to unleash wrath, chaos, and to satisfy your own desires? Are you doing this for the betterment of relationship between minority citizens and officers, or are you doing this for vengeance which often hurts innocent people.

Racism is a heart problem. Distrust between different tribes and peoples is a heart problem. Only the gospel can circumcise the hearts of men who have this aliment. Only the message of Christ crucified and the resurrection of the dead can man be born again to love his brother. No amount of policy changes can solve racism. With man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. 

I wonder what Floyd would say about all this happening? Would he forgive? Would he say to love one another? How powerful a message would that be, to forgive and to love one another. But this goes beyond the scope of this article and I believe we should pray for Floyd and his family.

Jesus Christ didn’t come to protest, start a riot, or upheave the political dynamo. Christ is King. Anything less is utter nonsense. He came to save humanity from its sins, which includes racism. Because of His sacrifice and resurrection, all have the opportunity to look upon the cross and be freed and be forgiven of sin. As followers of Jesus, we must ask ourselves who we serve? Our political party? Or Christ? Our tribe? Or Christ? Ourselves? Or Christ?

Ultimately we need to examine ourselves; Are we right with God? Do we believe? Do we repent of our sins, how we view sin, and how we view the world? The United States is currently going through a dire time. Yet God is in control. As the world darkens and the country’s light grows dim, the light of Jesus Christ is shining brighter. We have hope. A real hope of a better tomorrow and a world without the death and sin circling us in a mindless whirlwind. And I am sure God is working in the middle of this tragedy to do His miracles and to point people to His Son. Be prepared, He is coming.

Ravi Zacharias has passed away. What is the future of Christian Apologetics?

Ravi Zacharias, the famed Christian apologist, has died today at the age of 74. Zacharaias had been battling sarcoma and died in his Atlanta home, according to CNN.com. He was a leading figure among Christian Apologists — a branch of Christian theology that defends Christian doctrines against objections.

During the beginnings of my journey with Christ I used to listen to Zacharias and his wonderful conversations with opponents of the faith. Zacharias always came off as thoughtful, well-spoken and loving as he defended the faith. He had a gentleness and tender-heartedness in the way he approached his apologetic ministry, something that is very sorely needed today. It was always a delight to hear him speak and he will be sorely missed among the elect. He is now with the Lord as we await the coming of Christ’s kingdom.

With the death of brother Zacharais, the question that we have to ask ourselves is where does apologetics fit in the Kingdom of God in this day and age, if it even fits at all? Ever since the rising of new atheism with critics such as Richard Dawkins, Chrisopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris, there have been countless debates, books, articles, sermons, conversations, and overall battles to conform or prove scientifically and intellectually that everything the Bible says is true, God is real, and Christ rose from the dead. 

The fact is, the Bible only ever addresses atheism once in the Bible with this simple passage in the Psalms. 

Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;

    there is none who does good.

This does not mean the person who says there is no God is ignorant, or unintelligent by any means. What it does say is that those who deny God’s existence are characterised by a sinful lifestyle. Those who don’t believe that God is real have a corrupt heart and their deeds are evil. Indeed, all of us at one point or another have denied God’s existence with our actions and words as no one does good. No one is good before a perfect and holy God. Paul also explains in the passages of Romans Chapter 1 that men, by their unrighteousness, suppress the truth about God, that God’s invisible attributes have been clearly perceived since the beginning. This isn’t just the complex nature of the universe and the cosmos, but also the matter of the human condition and what is good and what is evil. We do not honor God and become futile in our thinking, our sinful hearts were darkened. Now that Jesus Christ, the living word of God, died, was buried and rose again, we are without excuse. The true nature of God and the true nature of His love for us through his only begotten Son, Christ Jesus has been revealed to humanity. 

It is sad seeing what many testimonies, many street preaching, and what many arguments with those who do not believe boil down to the question whether or not God exists or whether the resurrection happened, or if the Bible is true. As I matured into the faith I found myself switching off many of these debates and arguments as they were unfruitful. But I guess this is all a part of the capitalization of western christianity, as debates and books attacking atheism bring the mega bucks and monies for Christianity Inc. The sad fact is, these debates often draw crowds, draw eyeballs, and sell tickets and books.

Can a man be led to Christ by the Holy Spirit through apologetics? I guess it can happen. And so can a lot of things. But… To be honest, faith in God and faith in Jesus is a true gift from God. After all, Jesus said of Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Christ, that this revelation by Peter was revealed to him by God. It all comes down to either you believe Jesus rose from the dead or not. It all comes down if you take the narrow path, that leads to life. Or the broad path, that leads to destruction. It all comes down if you decide to take the red pill and know the truth and live by that truth no matter how painful it is. Or take the blue pill, and live life blissfully ignorant of the coming destruction of both body and soul. You either believe the Bible. Or you don’t. If you can’t get past Genesis 1:1, then you cannot be helped. God will have to reveal the truth to you. This goes for every miracle, every passage and the resurrection of Christ himself. If you do not believe in any of it, you cannot be helped, God has to reveal the truth to you.

I believe the new millennial generation of preachers, elders, teachers and pastors of the gospel need to repent and analyze how we deal with the question of how to approach the atheistic unbeliever. We need to stop asking and answering the fruitless and unproductive questions of the 2000s and 2010s and start asking the real, deep, questions of the times. God being “real” is not up for debate, nor should any believer defend this fact. The fact is that we live in an increasingly evil and wicked generation. And as the evil grows and darkness descends upon the world, God’s word and the cross of Jesus Christ is shining brightly in the scourge of darkness. The time for debating is over. The time to proclaim the good news is now. The time to proclaim the coming of Christ’s kingdom is now. The time to preach Christ crucified and the resurrection of the dead, is now. The time to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins is now. 

This is not a proclamation that apologetics is dead. In fact, it is needed and wanted and I believe there is a time and a place for everything, including apologetics. After all, Zacharais and his ministry has helped countless amounts of people and I do believe God almighty works through apologetics. What I am saying to my fellow millennials and the zoomers is we need to reanalyse and refocus what the real questions and problems of our lives are. Do atheists really need to be explained how God is real? Or do they have a deeper, more visceral heart problem and they need to hear the good news about God’s love to them through the cross of Christ? Do atheists need to hear the scholarly details about the legitimacy of the Bible? Or do they need to hear the naked truth about what the Bible says and what the Bible is trying to point out? It’s time to stop giving the pegan the microphone when street preaching and just start preaching the good news in general.

There is no doubt in my mind that Ravi Zacharias is one of, if not the greatest christian apologist of all time. He and his ministry was needed at the right time and God worked through him and his ministry many good works that spread the glorious gospel of our King Jesus. Now he is with Him and at peace. 

To end, I wish to share my favorite Ravi Zacharias moment…

“Its time to stop asking if Jesus Christ died and instead ask why”

A Poem and Prayer to God in Response to Anxiety.

By Anonymous

Father Father please help me!

This anxiety is overwhelming.

This fear consumes me.

It is like a great flame surrounding me.

It consumes me with all my thoughts.

I worry about the future oh Lord!

The only living God,

The Creator of the Heavens,

The Sculptor of the Earth,

I come before you anxious of tomorrow,

The enemy is at the door,

Great beasts surround my home,

Sin is always waiting to consume my very soul,

Why must we toil oh God!

The very ground that we walk is cursed.

We sow a plentiful harvest

We craft wonderful buildings

We build great houses and fortunes

But in the end everything is meaningless

The harvest does not satisfy

The buildings end up falling

And our fortunes are divided and scattered

Everything is vain

Everything is ashes and dust

You, oh Heavenly God

The creator of the beasts of the land

The sculpture of the birds of the air

You, God almighty expose the idols of the heart of men

The idol of the harvest

The false god of safety

The graven image of fortunes

For what is fear? What does it do to a man?

Fear exposes and cast light to who we really serve

What does a man really serve when anxiety about the future is upon him?

Father, father! I come before you in the name of your son!

I am in the storm, I am in the fire,

I am burning with the worries of tomorrow,

Death is on my doorstep,

Judgement awaits me

Please lift these clouds from me, from my soul

I am afraid

Father God, 

Creator of the sky

Creator of the sea

What is true treasure? 

Can anyone fathom it?

Can anyone truly see or comprehend the true riches you hold?

Is there anything greater than your Son?

Is there anything more powerful than your gospel of salvation?

Is there anything more precious than the blood of the lamb that was slain before the foundations of the world?

Why should I be afraid? Why should I worry?

You feed the birds in the air and creatures of the field

Am I not more precious than these?

How great are you powerful almighty God?

You who created Man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him?

How great is the one true God?

He walks and parts the seas

He rebukes the storms 

He crafted the Earth with just His word.

But this is not what truly makes you great of Holy Father

What makes our Holy God great?

He is the comforter of our sorrows

He is the small voice in the storm telling us to rest.

His rod disciplines his children 

His staff guides our ways.

He anoints our heads with His Holy Spirit

The cups of our joy overflows

Love and goodness overflows to those who have faith in you

and follows your commandments

To believe in the name of your Son.

Yes God, please give me rest

Please give me comfort through this trial

Give me a spirit of meekness and repentance as I go through this trial

Craft this heart of clay into more of the image of your Son

To do away with the pride of my youth

And the idols of my flesh

Teach me to trust and lean more into you, God.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise

Teach me to enter into your rest, and to trust in your ways

Forever and ever.

Amen.

“Tiger King” Analysis: Joe Exotic and the consequences of a sinful lifestyle

During this forced quartitine I got the chance to watch the newest sensation on Netflix, a true-crime documentary called Tiger King. As a long-time fan of documentaries, I must say that Tiger King might rank up there as one of the most entertaining, crazy, hilarious, dark, depressing, fascinating and bizarre stories I have ever seen. The documentary, which is only 7, 45-minuite episodes, is quite a complex watch, as this series is one of the best examples of the consequences of living in unrepentant sin. It is both hard to watch, and addicting. Both a sad tale, and a too-funny-to-be true soap opera. To normal America, Tiger King is a freak show. But to those with a discerning mind towards scripture, the show is a cautionary tale of a hellish lifestyle.

Tiger King tells the tale of infamous zoo operator Joe Exotic and his feud with animal rights activist and owner of Big Cat Rescue, Carole Baskin. The show also details the underworld of private zoos and private owners of exotic animals. I found this part to be facionating as the documentary highlights very eccentric characters such as Doc Antle of the Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, Mario Tabraue who served twelve years in prison for a drug-smuggling enterprise and used exotic animals to transport contraband and Tim Stark of WildLife in need. These are some of the many characters Tiger King showcases as nearly everyone that comes on screen is memorable. 

The most memorable of them all is Joe Exotic who, even by TV standards, is highly eccentric. Joe Exotic is an unapolgetic, flamboyant, homosexual who has a mullet, wears colorful leather jackets, and has six-shooter revolvers with him in open carry fashion at all times (and he is not afraid to use them). Exotic is also a hardcore animal lover and big cat lover. At his GW Zoo, a kingdom of outcasts and misfits of sorts, he is the self-proclaimed Tiger King owning many big cats, with his prized possession being a cache of Tigers that he breeds. At odds with Joe Exotic is another highly memorable character. Exotic’s archenemy, Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue, who is hellbent on shutting Exotic and his zoo down due to various abuses done by Joe Exotic with his Tigers. Baskin, unlike Joe, is not flamboyant or loud, or carrys six-shooters. Baskin comes across like an animal rights version of Cruella Deville, or some strange rich cat lady. Baskin’s main gimmick, however, is this bizzare sub plot line in the documentary where it is implied that Baskin murdered her ex-husband and fed her to her own Tigers to get his money. Hence the memes that Carole Baskin murdered her husband. It is this rivalery with Exotic and Baskin that form the main plotline of Tiger King and ultimately Exotic’s downfall as he is arrested for a murder-for-hire plot agansit Baskin and is ultimately spending serious jailtime for it at the end of the documentary.

Whether or not there should be private ownership of such exotic animals like Tigers is really up for debate and I don’t believe this is the crux of the story. What Tiger King does show is a very dark community and the extreme nature of a sinful lifestyle and its consequences. Nearly every major character on the show is either shady, or is suffering from mental scars by being around Joe Exotic or the business in general. 

GW Zoo’s employees are almost all misfits or convicted felons that Joe takes extreme advantage of. Tiger King actually showcases some of these characters such as Kelci Saffery, a war vetran who is trans and had her arm torn off by a Tiger, despite that, she came back to work after just five days. John Reinke, who has very cool-looking prosthetic legs and is manager of GW zoo who finally got tired of Exotic’s abuse and left. And Erik Cowie, the head keeper of the zoo and who was hurt emotionally by the killing of a tiger by Joe. Joe Exotic underpays, and has them often living in squalor conditions. What is even more disturbing is the personal life of Joe and his various “husbands.” It is heavily implied that Joe Exotic supplied and controlled both of them using drugs. Nearly all of them testify against Joe during his trial at the end of the documentary.

What exactly is there to learn from Tiger King when Exotic’s life was extra out of the ordinary? The fact is, many, even those who proclaim Christ, are living in lifestyles similar to Joe. We get into very bad and toxic communities with good intentions. Some get sucked up into the love of money, some with the fame and glamor. We try to build our own empires and rule over them. We build Worlds and fantasy lands in our own image instead of God’s. In these false kingdoms we make for ourselves, we almost always suck other people into our own hell and end up hurting and scaring others. Tiger King coyly showcases the consequences from Joe Exotic’s actions on others. Mothers lose sons, marriages are broken, a war vertan loses an arm, people almost lose their lives, parents are taken advantage of, young men and women are fed drugs, a young man commits suicide, people’s lives are destroyed and the animals are grotesquely abused. Above all else, Joe Exotic hurts himself, his own soul and loses his freedom. The veil is torn off towards the end when his own kingdom collapses and now sits in prison.Joe Exotic is no more, and reverts back to Joe Schreibvogel (real name). 

The good news is that there is still hope for redemption. As is always the case for humankind. The fact is, we are all like Joe in some way. We need salvation, we need radical heart change, and we need a reborn life. Is it possible for a man to be born again? Not of flesh, but of spirit? As it is written in the Bible, with man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. Joe Schreibvogel can be reborn, sanctified, and justified, through the blood of God’s only son, Jesus Christ. To know Jesus, His life, death and resurrection, is to know love and to know God. To know he is forgiven and loved by a heavenly Father is worth more than anything that the world has to offer. The fact is, Joe Exotic, by being in prison and his life collapsing because of his sin, still has a chance to receive that free gift of salvation. This is a true mercy by God. Joe now has nothing to lose, other than his own ego. Still, this is often the most difficult thing a man can give up is his own pride. Joe Exotic had plenty of opportunities to give up his pride and escape, yet he continued on. As his empire started to crumble, he started selling more of his soul to even shader characters to save it. Ultimately, his sin leads him into jail where he remains. 

It’s honestly hard to take seriously anything on TV anymore especially reality TV, or documentaries that do not involve pure nature and wildlife. The story of Joe Exotic is almost too bizarre to believe and I am pretty sure the creators took liberties with the story. Joe Exotic himself also comes across as fake and staged. Most of the film and video footage is from cameras that Joe knows is there. Joe also is a showman and is very self aware of his “character.” The lines of reality are blurred and we never really get the sense of who the real Joe Exotic is. It reminds me of the current time we live in where everyone has a camera and we project who we want to be on social media. We craft our own image of ourselves instead of reality, which is often far darker than what we choose to put out. While Joe Exotic wants to craft himself as a rebel who is at war with groups like PETA and Carole Baskin, the documentary crafts Joe Exotic in a different manner, something more bleak. I often asked myself while watching this documentary what made these people the way they are? Of course, many will point to Joe Exotic’s homosexuality as the cause of all his problems and sins. And while that is a major sin in Joe’s life, his problems run deeper and more troubling than that.

Doing research, I found out that Joe Exotic was raped by an older boy when he was only 5. Carole Baskin is also a victim of rape. This is beyond horrible and I can’t imagine what scars that left on Exotic and Baskin. Sin breeds more sin. Doc Antle, Joe’s mentor, is heavily implied to be a polygamist with a cult-like harem of women he leads. He, in turn, influenced Joe Exotic, who has a harem of drug addict men, and a down-on-their-luck staff he takes full advantage of. Sin breeds more sin, it grows, and becomes a roaring Tiger. While we may get a cartoon version of these characters, reality tells us that these are broken and hurt people and no one, but God himself, can peer into the hearts of a human being to see what is really going on. Doing deeper research reveals that Joe Exotic himself is a victim of deep sin that others lashed on him. That he is a broken human, just like all of us. And now he stands in front of his own sins, in a jail cell. 

The question remains, will he take it? Can a man be born again with a new heart and new desires? The question also remains, will we ourselves receive the free gift of salvation? Everyone of us needs to examine ourselves, our communities, and our lifestyles to see if we are acting like Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead. The wages of sin are death. It is not only physical death that can be the fruits of sin, but for Exotic’s case, it can be a deep visceral spiritual death. You can develop a reprobate mind, where you have lost all sense of reason or righteousness and your heart is dead to spiritual matters. This is called a hardening of the heart, and at that point, only God himself can soften it.

Everyone sins. Everyone sins everyday all the time and that is why we need a savior. Still, Tiger King should be looked at, with the goggles of the Bible, as a warning against continuing in sinful lifestyles. 
Tiger King is quite an interesting beast of a documentary. We see these grown men, images bearers of God, tame these magnificent beasts. Tigers, Chimpanzees, animals of all kinds. It is truly a testament of man’s rule over the world and the beast of the earth. It is such a shame that while we are more than capable of taming wild beasts and nature of all kinds, the thing we can’t tame is our own dark hearts and the evil it springs forth. Joe Exotic is an example of a man capable of doing incredible feats of taming powerful beasts, yet he is a deeply flawed, evil man who ended up letting his heart and sin run rampant and taming him. In the end, he became a beast and is now locked in a cage.

Giving Grace to church leaders in the age of the COVID-19, plus demonic activity in the world.

In this video I will discuss the various responses among the church leaders and the demonic activity going on in the age of COVID-19. I end by sharing some uplifting scripture.