Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Simple Christianity



But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. ~2 Corinthians 11:3

There are nine usages of “little children” in the book of 1 John that reveal simple Christianity. The truths contained within these “little children” usages are vital to all of us as believers, but especially to those who are new to the faith. Are you new to the faith? Or do you know someone who is? Do you struggle with understanding what the really important issues of life are in the Christian faith? Perhaps you are mature in the faith but still need to be reminded of these truths. These “little children” lessons are truths that God wants all of us to know and understand. They teach us “the simplicity that is in Christ,” which applies to all of God’s children, regardless of our maturity level; and they chart out the lifestyle of a true Christ follower—the lifestyle Satan tries to beguile us from walking in.

The small, five-chapter book of 1 John contains nine usages of “little children.” We can think of it as a primer for newborn believers, with nine basic rules for Christian living. These salient truths our heavenly Father wants us to know, understand, and apply are like the basic lessons our earthly parents gave us as little children when they instructed us to “say your prayers every day,” “don’t take candy from strangers,” “be kind to others,” and “don’t play in the street.” The “little children” lessons in 1 John are simple, yet priceless, practical instructions for Christian living.

I heard once that the gospel of John was the best place to begin reading to learn about Jesus, and it is true that it gives an overall perspective of who He is; however, 1 John shows us how to have fellowship with Him and His family.

These are instructional lessons for little children in the kingdom of God and are words of comfort like a good earthly father would use in order to tenderly teach his young children. And yet, they also have words of warning that set boundaries to protect us from the evil one and his false prophets. Above all else, they contain the number one lesson of loving others, which is the key to successfully living in His family. 

Before jumping to the lessons, let’s look at a comparison of 1 John, which according to tradition was written to the believers in Ephesus, and the epistle that Paul wrote to the Ephesians.


Comparing the Book of 1 John and the Book of Ephesians

First John and Ephesians are flip sides of truth—one being deep or complex and the other one being simple and practical. Paul wrote the epistle to the Ephesians (the deep one) about ad 62. He addressed it to the believers and to those who were faithful in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:1 KJV). It is perhaps Paul’s deepest revelatory writing. He was a deep thinker, and even Peter said that some of the things he wrote were hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16). He was “Dr. Paul” of Tarsus, a very well-educated man, and his writings reflect that. When I was first saved, I was told to read the book of Ephesians. At my early Christian age, it definitely challenged me to go deeper into the things of God. I’m thankful, because the fruit of that depth is still being produced in me today. However, there were some foundational things lacking that are found in 1 John. We need instruction so simple that even a fool need not err therein. We need the simplicity that is found in Christ.

First John (the simple one) was penned by John the apostle and it too was addressed to the believers in Ephesus. The time of its writing is estimated to be around the same time as the book of Revelation, which John wrote while imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos, circa ad 90. That means some of the same believers Paul wrote to 28 years earlier may have still been in Ephesus at the time of John’s epistle. The message of 1 John shows us how we are to live simple Christianity. Although it was written specifically to the Ephesians who were newly born again, it also addressed the mature believers and reminded them of the simplicity that is found in Christ.

Another comparison between these two epistles to the Ephesians is that John was much older than Paul when they wrote their epistles. Older and, perhaps arguably, a little wiser than Paul would have been at when he wrote his epistle, which was probably around 57 years old. We know that all scripture is given by inspiration and all of it is accurate, but some writings are deeper than others and some are simpler to understand than others. Each one has a unique and separate profit.

Since John wrote his epistle at an older age than Paul wrote his, I believe he probably had gained a greater practical wisdom. He had personally known and walked with Jesus and was called the disciple that Jesus loved; Jesus had, in fact, entrusted the care of His mother to John at the cross. He was a refined, hard-working fisherman from Galilee who, while imprisoned, wrote some simple instructions to those he called “little children” of the faith. On the other hand, the epistle of Ephesians was written by a doctor of the law who was perhaps more concerned with doctrine and teaching but was led by the Holy Spirit to share the depths of truth that God had revealed to him. Maybe the same people that Paul taught the doctrine to needed to hear the sage wisdom of one of Jesus’ apostles when he called them back to simple basic Christian living 28 years later. Just as Ephesians is deep, 1 John is very practical. In my opinion, 1 John is a lot easier to understand; therefore, perhaps it should be the first book of the Bible that we recommend to new Christians to read. The epistle to the Ephesians is protein; whereas, 1 John is milk.

This is simple Christianity.


Who was John?

John was one of Jesus’ apostles and closest friends. He was referred to as the disciple that Jesus loved, and love is undoubtedly the biggest lesson to learn from 1 John. Why not learn it from someone who not only lived and walked with Jesus, but was entrusted with the care of His mother? Jesus must have seen the love that John walked in or He would not have trusted him to take on such a relational and personal commitment. I can see Jesus choosing John to write this. This is the disciple that Jesus loved.

As I began my serious quest into 1 John, I decided to do a little background research on the Apostle John to try and “get inside his head” and really understand the man who wrote this letter to the Ephesians. I had already done this with the Apostle Paul in the past and some of the other writers of Scripture, but never with John. As I share several things I learned about him, I hope it helps you to understand more about the revelation that God imparted to him.

John and his brother, James, were hard-working fishermen bc (before Christ). They were called “the sons of thunder,” perhaps because they were boisterous and loud—maybe using some of the salty language associated with today’s fishermen. They were among the first apostles Jesus called to follow Him, and we can only imagine the amazing transformation they must have gone through. They saw the miracles Jesus did, witnessed Him in His resurrected body, were present at His ascension, and received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. John and Peter healed the lame man at the temple gate (Acts 3), and then John lost his brother James, who was brutally martyred (Acts 12:2). Think of the lessons he must have learned throughout his life, especially after he met and followed Christ.

As mentioned before, he was the disciple that Jesus loved (which is testified of three times). Jesus loved not just his spirit but also his soul, because John 20:2 says that Jesus loved (phileo—brotherly love or friendship love) him, which means he liked him. Jesus considered him a friend who could walk beside him when they traveled and probably even slept next to when they stopped for the night. They were close companions. We know Jesus entrusted His mother to him (John 19:26), which indicates John was a caring and loving man. It makes sense that God would choose him to pen this basic, yet vital, message of simple Christianity.

A few years ago, Vicki and I visited Ephesus and saw what many consider to be the burial site of John the Apostle. According to history and concurred by our tour guide, John had been exiled to the Isle of Patmos where he miraculously survived being boiled in oil, and from where he wrote the book of Revelation and the three books of John. After his exile, he returned to Ephesus where he later died and was buried. It is common knowledge in the Ephesus area that Mary, Jesus’ mother, went with him, and there are even monuments there memorializing her. John followed through on Jesus’ dying appeal to take in His mother. John was a caring, kind, and loving man who kept his promise to Jesus as He was dying on the cross. He must have been an amazing man.

John was a man of love. His writings reflect his simple practicality just as Paul’s reflect his complex education. John was as simple as Paul was complex. The epistle of Ephesians may arguably be Paul’s deepest written revelation, and as profoundly complex as Ephesians is, 1 John is simple and practical. Also, I find it interesting that both of these giants of New Testament scripture received their most profound revelations while imprisoned. Think about it.

Even from the beginning of 1 John, it is easy to see that these are basic lessons. The first chapter lays out the foundation of Christianity with these two points:

·           We are to have a relationship with the Father and His Son
·           God sent Jesus to forgive our sins so that we could have that fellowship.

First John 1:4 gives the purpose for the writing: that your joy may be full.

Throughout 1 John the Father seems to be saying, “Little children, I called you into joy, freedom and power, not into bondage and defeat.”

Note: This study of 1 John will never suffice for your personal reading of it, but it can serve as a guide to take you through the book. Each of the usages of “little children” holds a powerful message and lesson. Each of these usages will be covered in the following sections with the verse in its title.


Usages of ‘Little Children”

There are nine different usages of “little children” in 1 John. Seven of them are expressed by the Greek word teknion, which means a very small child, and the other two by the Greek word paidion, which means a child who is just a little older, but still small. Both words are extensions of their respective nouns, referred to as diminutives. A diminutive makes something smaller and endearing, like a boy calling his girlfriend “baby,” or you calling your dog “the cutest little thing.” Both Greek words are important to our study as we look at these basic lessons for simple Christian living.

So “little children,” please sit down and learn these primary lessons. If you already know them then please take the time to deeply reconsider them, and give the new believers a good example by living them.

Lesson One—1 John 2:1—If we sin, Jesus is our defense attorney.


The first lesson to new believers is do not sin. But if they do sin, Jesus is their defense attorney and has them covered. Chapter 1 talks about this as well, exhorting us to do what is right but still assuring us that Jesus will be there for us if we fail. Not only did He pay the price for our salvation, He also paid the price for our forgiveness and restoration into fellowship with the Father.

Lesson Two —1 John 2:12—Our sins are forgiven.

I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. ~1 John 2:12

The second lesson to new believers is that our sins are forgiven. This exhortation is similar to the first, which is God’s way of emphasizing it. He tells us twice that because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, our sins are forgiven and they will not separate us from Him.

This portion of 1 John is written to three categories: little children, young men, and fathers (King James Version). Each has specific instructions, but what is addressed to “little children” settles the righteousness issue.

Lesson Three—1 John 2:13—Get to know your heavenly Father.

I write to you, little children [paidion], because you have known the Father. ~1 John 2:13b

The third basic instruction for simple Christianity is get to know your heavenly Father. The Greek word for “known” in 1 John 2:13b is ginosoko, which means to know by experience. God wants His little children to get to know Him by experiencing His fatherly love. In Old Testament times, God’s people had to wait until the Sabbath to really fellowship with Him, but because of the blood of Jesus, His children can freely access His presence and experience perpetual fellowship with Him. Jesus paid the ultimate price so that we could intimately know God, so why not enjoy getting to know Him as your heavenly Father? (My book, You Don’t Have to be Smart to Walk with God, available at our LMCI.org e-store, is also a helpful resource.)

Lesson Four—1 John 2:18—The Anti-Christ is in the world.

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. ~1 John 2:18

The fourth basic instruction for simple Christianity is the anti-Christ is in the world. Our loving heavenly Father warns us that Satan will come after our faith. The seed that falls by the wayside is gobbled up by Satan before it can grow roots (Mark 4:15). Little children in God’s family are instructed to beware of the “antichrists” that are already in the world; and there are other cautions in 1 John about the enemy and his deception. Just as earthly fathers do not let their kids take candy from strangers, our heavenly Father wants us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Satan is coming after our faith. Be on guard.

There are also other three places in 1 John that tell us to be on guard because we have an enemy.

Lesson Five—1 John 2:28—Have confidence, not shame, before Him at His coming.  

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. ~1 John 2:28

The fifth basic instruction for simple Christianity is have confidence, not shame, before Him at His coming. Having hope in Jesus’ coming is more than looking forward to being raptured and taken off the planet. It does include that, but the exhortation is given that if we have that hope of seeing Him face to face, we will keep ourselves pure (1 John 3:3). From the end of chapter 2 through the first part of chapter 3, it talks about looking like Him when He appears. We should have hope in His coming and that hope should inspire us to be pure just as He is pure.

The hope of Christ’s return and His coming kingdom is our undergirding strength. Regardless of what happens in this world, we have an inheritance that is reserved in heaven for us (2 Peter 1:4). Have hope!

Lesson Six—1 John 3:7—Let no one deceive you.

Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. ~1 John 3:7

The sixth basic instruction for simple Christianity is let no one deceive you. This is a bold lesson from the Father, and it again reminds us of the previous instruction—that we have an enemy who wants to deceive us. We can know his people by their fruit, just as we will know a true Christ follower by his fruit. This is a great lesson to all of us who are taught to love one another. Pay attention to the fruit that is being produced by others (as well as the fruit we are producing!). Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits (1 Corinthians 15:33).

New believers, in particular, should consider the company they are keeping and how it affects them.

Lesson Seven—1 John 3:18—Love one another.  

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. ~1 John 3:18

The seventh basic instruction for simple Christianity is love one another. In John 13:33 and 34 (written by the same Apostle John), Jesus told the “little children” that they had a new commandment—to love one another as He has loved us. That is a tall order, but one He has given us the ability to fulfill. The truth about the transforming love of God is woven throughout the gospels, as well as the epistles written by Paul, Peter, James, and John.

Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). First John 2:15 instructs us to not love the world or the things of the world. Even though these are simple lessons, love is a deep one to walk in and develop. According to Ephesians 3:17–19, it has four dimensions! Love is a big lesson that must be understood and is truly the law of life for a genuine believer. As we live His love, He perfects it in us—so much so that it expels every fear in our lives. Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

Walk in love.

Lesson Eight—1 John 4:4—He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. ~1 John 4:4

The eighth basic instruction for simple Christianity is He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. This lesson for little children again shows the conflict that we have walked into, being in God’s family. But this exhortation is that greater is God’s power in you than the temptations or devices that will come against you. This verse should build great confidence in you. There is a spirit of antichrist in the world, but greater is Christ in you (Colossians 1:27) than all of Satan’s power in this world.

There should never be any reason for you to fear Satan and his kingdom. Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. No fear! (Remember, His perfected love in you will expel all fear.)

Lesson Nine—1 John 5:21—Keep yourself from idols.

Little children [teknion], keep yourselves from idols. Amen. ~1 John 5:21

The ninth basic instruction for simple Christianity is keep yourself from idols. The culture in Ephesus was centered upon the idol worship of Diana of the Ephesians. This is telling the new believers in Christ to come apart from their old way of living. In our culture it is not so much worshiping an idol of stone or wood or even gold—it is the worship of self. This last exhortation to us as little children is very powerful. Follow only after the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not let the things of this world distract you from your true, first love—Jesus.

Keep God #1. This verse in The New Living Translation reads, “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts.”


Summary

The following table summarizes the lessons of “little children” from the Epistle of 1 John. These instructions apply to a “newborn” believer and to us all, no matter how mature we are in our spiritual lives.

Reference
Lesson
1 John 2:1
Sin not; your advocate is Jesus.
1 John 2:12
Your sins are forgiven by Jesus Christ.
1 John 2:13
Get to personally know the Father.
1 John 2:18
Antichrist is in the world; guard your salvation.
1 John 2:28
Have hope and be pure.
1 John 3:7
Take heed of the company you keep.
1 John 3:18
Love in deed and truth.
1 John 4:4
Remember your power. Fear not!
1 John 5:21
Keep God first.

Keep it Simple!

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. ~2 Corinthians 11:3
©2018 Dale M. Sides





Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Lunar Eclipse and Celestial Events of July 27, 2018


On July 27, 2018 a lunar eclipse, being touted as the longest lunar eclipse in the 21st century, will cover most of Africa and Asia. In addition, there are other celestial signs happening simultaneously that also merit our attention. This eclipse will not be visible from any place in North America, but it will be visible in Israel, the center of the Earth from God’s perspective. Many millions of people across the world will witness this celestial display; and yet, who has “eyes to see” what they are looking at?

There is a message in the eclipse. This is not just a light show to dazzle those who stay up late at night. We need to lift up our eyes and consider what the celestial word of God is saying. This article explains some of the significant events and offers a plausible interpretation of the eclipse and the message that God may be telegraphing to Earth.

There are three separate celestial events occurring at this time.
 
·         The lunar eclipse
·         The message of Mars
·         All the major planets are on the same side of the Sun

Each event is significant but when you put the three together, it appears that something big is brewing and we are getting a preview of coming attractions. This is a big message; pay attention.

Interpreting an Eclipse

Interpreting an eclipse requires the examination of a series of things: 1) the location of the Moon in the heavens at the time of the eclipse, 2) the location of other planets visible during the eclipse, and 3) the location of the Earth where the shadow passes. The eclipse of July 27, 2018 will have some amazing displays and possibly is sending a message to all who know how to read it. It is being magnificently accentuated by the retrograde and brightness of Mars, which will be exactly next to it in the heavens and cannot be missed if you see the eclipse.

(Incidentally, this is not astrology but is the Christological study of the message in heavens, which Psalm 19 says changes daily. Anytime that you want to know what the heavens are saying “today,” go to http://Today.lmci.org. This is our computer program that has even amazed NASA. If you want to know what the heavens declared about you on the day of your birth (Genesis 1:13), go to http://astronomy.lmci.org. These are Christological interpretations according to accurate astronomy and not errant astrological, archaic tables. The heavens declare the glory of God; the day you were born has a message about your potential glory.)

Eclipses are a big deal when we read the celestial word of God and they historically tend to indicate a bad omen or cataclysm. Blood moon eclipses over Israel were often times of bloodshed—for example, when the angel of death “passed over” the Israelites at the first Passover when the Egyptians’ firstborn died. It is not unusual for Israel to be around shedding of blood at blood moons and now, when we see what Mars (representing Yeshua the warrior) is doing in the heavens, it is breathtaking indeed. This portends toward war, even for Israel.

In interpreting an eclipse, the location of the eclipse in the heavens is of foremost importance, even before we begin looking at where the shadow will cross the face of Earth. When the light of the Moon dims, paying attention to what is visible elsewhere in the heavens is extremely important too. In this particular eclipse, something of huge significance is happening with less than 10 degrees of separation from the Moon—the planet Mars in retrograde, shining the brightest it has ever been in the history of mankind. (Note: Not only is Mars in retrograde at the time of this visibility, but Jupiter and Saturn are also. It is very unusual for three planets to be in retrograde simultaneously on the same side of the Earth, so this intensifies the significance of the event even more.) And if that wasn’t enough, all the other major planets will be on the same dark side of the Earth where the eclipse and the retrograde of Mars will be visible. The greater the number of significant events happening at the same time, the more emphatic the message is.

The Moon
First, when the Moon passes through the shadow of the Earth on July 27th, it will be located against the backdrop of Sagittarius, in the locator decan of Draco. Sagittarius is the bow man coming to take vengeance on his foe, the Scorpion. His arrow is trained on the Scorpion and he is coming in judgment. The amplifiers (decans) of Sagittarius are all nasty vindicators. First is Lyra, meaning the praise of God torments the devil; next is Ara, the devil’s judgment signified by the lake of fire; and last is Draco, being trounced underfoot by Hercules, aka Yeshua the redeemer. At the time of the eclipse, the Moon will be located in the rear part of Sagittarius. This is the area of Sagittarius assigned to relate to Draco, or Satan, or the devil (Revelation 12:9). Of all the areas in the heavens, this particular location points at the devil, and especially his defeat.

What does this mean? For Christ followers, this reminds us of the authority we have over Satan; and yet, even with superior power over him, he must still be thrown down. We are to be sober and vigilant for a battle is approaching. This also may have international significance because of the retrograde of Mars. I personally believe that Israel needs to be vigilant and to be prepared for war, either proactive or reactive.

This picture is representation of the location of the Moon and Mars at the time of the eclipse.
 

Location of Moon and Mars on July 27th

The Message of Mars

Next is what will be seen in the immediate vicinity of the Moon during the eclipse. It will not be missed, even when the Moon is full and not eclipsed! It is impossible to not notice it in the southern skies during the early morning hours. Mars, depicting Yeshua the warrior, is shining in its brightness to Earth more than at any other time in thousands of years. Its name in Hebrew is so obvious now; it is Madim, the color red. It is the atonement planet and shows the willingness of Messiah to shed blood for us. Mars shows Jesus the warrior fighting for His people. During the eclipse, it will be at its brightest and it will be located in the heart of Capricorn the sacrificial goat in a dazzling display of retrograde motion—just next to the blood red moon.

Astronomically, a retrograde motion is an optical illusion cause by one object overtaking another when looking at the background behind it. The other object appears to move backwards for a brief moment as we would pass by it. It happens when a driver passes a car on the interstate highway; it also happens when the planets we are viewing pass by each other while we are looking at the backdrop behind them. They actually appear to go backwards over a period of time and then to go forward again. When you look at the trail it leaves, it appears to draw a circle or an ellipse in the sky. What it circles is important. This is a huge key in interpreting the heavens and is one of the secrets of Magi of old. (Note: There is a specific article on retrogrades in the appendices of my book, Christological Astronomy: Interpreting Christological Profiles in the Heavens, available in the e-store at LMCI.org.)

When Mars retrogrades, it often signifies war. Also, this is the red planet showing the shedding of blood and it has been circling around the front part of Capricorn for months now. Capricorn is the sacrificial goat. This is a violent, bloody spot in the heavens and the events happening on the Earth around this time could very well be the same.

Several years ago, I did some research on retrogrades of Mars as it relates to Israel’s military and political history. The summary is that oftentimes when Mars goes into a retrograde motion Israel has military involvement, and within the past 100 years it has indicated a decisive victory for them. Examples of Israel coinciding with Mars’ retrogrades are the Balfour Declaration of 1918, Israel becoming a nation in May 1948, and the Six Day War of 1967, among others.

Here is a picture of the current retrograde.
 

Retrograde of Mars May–October 2018

The brightness of Mars. Only once in 30,000 years has Mars been as bright as it is now. Both Mars and the Earth are in opposition, meaning on the opposite side of the Sun, and since Earth is passing by Mars causing the retrograde, we are closest to it and so it appears even brighter than at any other time. Both of the planets have orbits that are elliptical and not circular, and now the two ellipses are bringing the planets closer than at any time in thousands of years—perhaps ever since the history of mankind on the Earth. Mars, or more preferably Madim, the red one, has been beaming the message of the Lord fighting for His people. This has a meaning for us and it possibly has a special message for Israel.

When we combine the meanings of the eclipse together with the retrograde and Mars being at its brightest, an interesting conclusion emerges—all of these signs indicate conflict, bloodshed, and perhaps warfare. The Moon in Sagittarius in the decan of Draco shows the throwing down of Satan in a violent conflict. And then, accentuating the announcement of his demise is the planet Mars in its most brilliant radiance, retrograding. Mars represents Jesus the warrior, and in retrograde it shows Him circling back to double the judgment on his enemies. By its brilliance, it is screaming that the Lord is fighting for His people. This is a “RRRBD” (really, really, really big deal). And yet, there is more.

All Major Planets on the Same Side of the Sun
It is a rare occurrence indeed to have all the major planets on the same side as the Sun at any given time. It is difficult to determine how often this happens but this is the first time in at least 200+ years. So in interpreting this eclipse, what we see when the light of the Moon dims is important. In this case, all the planets will be seeable during that time. It does not mean that all will be visible with the naked eye, but Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn will be quite visible. The other planets (Mercury, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) are seeable with optic aids. Having all of them on the same side of the Sun during the eclipse is special. Here is a link to an article and video on the subject.
 
https://www.disclose.tv/today-all-planetsto-be-on-same-side-of-sun-339829
 

All the major planets on the same side as the Sun could mean that God is about to do a big thing so that everyone can see it. The fact that it is visible over Israel lends the interpretation more international significance. If this is so, it could be a big affair.

Conclusion
On the morning of July 27th, Africa, Asia, and especially Israel will experience the blood moon eclipse. The Moon will pass in the shadow of the Earth in the longest eclipse in this century. Could this mean that God really wants us to see this so He is leaving it up a little longer than usual? The Moon will be located in the rear section of Sagittarius, in the area that indicates Yeshua’s victory over Satan.

When the Moon dims, immediately to the left of the eclipse, Mars will be brilliantly beaming its message brighter than ever before seen by humans. It is the red planet indicating the shedding of blood. It is in retrograde which says, “Hey look at this!” It is encircling the heart of Capricorn the sacrificial goat whose throat was cut and blood was shed. This looks like a bloody scene. Since Mars in retrograde also can indicate Yeshua fighting for Israel, this could mean a military conflict for Israel is on the immediate horizon.

And last, all the planets will be on the same side as the Sun and seeable during the eclipse. Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and of course Mars will be shining brightly and visible. (Note: The eclipse itself will not happen during the night time for North America, so it will not be visible there. But the position of Mars and appearance of other planets will still be seeable.)

What does this mean? First of all, it does not mean that something absolutely will happen on this particular day. It could, but there is not a guarantee. The heavens are God’s calling card and oftentimes, He announces significant events in advance.

Personally, this has a serious message that Jesus will fight for His people and throw Satan down. We should remember this in our personal walks, but we also need to put our foot down and claim our authority. This would be a good time for us to attack the enemy through destroying his strongholds in our lives. Don’t sign a peace treaty with the devil. Attack sin; repent; be holy and victorious over Satan. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). The eclipse says it; Madim/Mars says it through the retrograde and brightness, and all the planets agree—this could be a good time to go to war. Jesus will fight for us.

The retrograde of Mars usually has military and political omens for Israel. This could be a good time for a victory for Israel, and a bad time for its enemies. The fact that all the planets will be visible during the eclipse means that this could be a really big deal. If Israel had Magi now, I believe they would convey this message to Prime Minister Netanyahu. This would be a great time to be proactive.

There are several big wars touted by prophecy. Many people are looking for signs of the Ezekiel 38 and 39 conflict, others are looking for Damascus to be destroyed, and yet there is still Armageddon. We have plenty of choices since there will be wars and rumors of war during the end times. All the separate events that are occurring in the heavens during this eclipse are announcing something big. It appears to be bloody and not good news for enemies of the children and people of God. I do believe that this could have international significance and could be very important for Israel. Wouldn’t it be great to see the war of Ezekiel 38? Not for the destruction and bloodshed, but for the Jews to wake up and realize that Yeshua is mighty for them.

The heavens are read through interpreting the symbols of the constellations with respect to the movement of the Sun, Moon, and planets. There are certainly other interpretations of these celestial events, and yet the impending issue of warfare and the shedding of blood is being foretold. So let’s gird up the loins of our minds and be prepared for such things (2 Timothy 2:3).

Regardless of what occurs, in all the things we are reminded to lift up our eyes for our redemption draws nigh and the King is coming. We are not looking for signs in the heavens in as much as we are looking for the Lord Jesus Christ to return out of the heavens.

The signs indicate that we are getting close. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Monday, June 25, 2018

If Women Can’t Teach in the Church then I Can Own a Slave


I have been a major supporter of women’s rights to minister in the church for a very long time. This subject has been a “parking lot” discussion for me because I know that Jesus Christ came to set people free, not shackle them to cultural norms from pre-Christian traditions.

Recently I was in a conversation with someone who brought up a valid point of logic on the debate of women ministering in the church, or more particularly, within the five-fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11. We were discussing the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:35 and 1 Timothy 2:11ff which seem to forbid women to minister in the church. He said that those who will not let women minister in the church must by deduction allow for slavery too. Good point!

Upon closer examination of these verses, it’s evident that they are not referring to women in general, but to wives of ministers who were trying to crowd in on their husband’s place and authority.

And if they (the wives of the prophets) will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands (the prophets) at home: for it is a shame for women (the wives of the prophets) to speak in the church. ~1 Corinthians 14:13

Let the woman (wife) learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman (wife) to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. ~1 Timothy 2:11–13

Neither of these verses were meant for women in general but were specifically addressing the wives of ordained ministers. They were being admonished for disrupting their husbands’ messages and being told to discuss them at home instead. These words were not meant to shackle women or limit their authority but to address a problem that was occurring at these churches with the ministers’ wives.  

My friend and I were also discussing the cultural norms of the communities to whom these instructions were given—communities that were based upon sex and idol worshiping and that considered women as “property,” rather than as human beings. We were also discussing the evolving revelation of liberty, beginning with Christ’s earthly ministry. Churches who forbid women to minster in the church often say that they are literally interpreting the Scriptures. First of all, if they were literally interpreting them, they would need to point out that the context identifies “the women” in these verses as the wives of the ministers, and not women in general. Second of all, a literal interpretation would also take into consideration the truth that Christ came to set us free, not to keep us bound.

My friend then made the dazzling deduction that the title of this posting is based upon. He said, “If those who disallow women to minister in the church are justified by their ‘literal’ interpretation of the Scriptures, then by the same logic they would have to accept and legitimatize slavery because that culture also allowed slavery, as shown by the Scriptures that deal with how a servant (slave) is to act towards his master and vice versa” (Ephesians 6:5­–8; Colossians 3:22–24). In other words, to be logically and deductively consistent, if women cannot minister in the church then it must also be okay to own slaves.

My friends, Jesus Christ came to set us free, not to laden us with heavy burdens in order to justify our flesh. Jesus came to set slaves free and He came to set women free (which, in some cultures, would be relevant to both). Properly interpreted, there is no restriction on women ministering in the church. According to Galatians 3:28, in Christ Jesus, there is neither male of female. We are all set free to serve him regardless of race, sex, country and/or culture.

He who the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36).



Thursday, March 29, 2018

VICTORY OVER LYME DISEASE

Having spent most of my life in the woods, hunting, fishing and hiking, I thought little of it when I was bitten by several ticks while clearing brush at my southwestern Virginia home in March 2016. There were no red circles in any noticeable spots, and I continued on my merry, unsuspecting way. However, within a couple of weeks, I began noticing levels of fatigue, to the end that I thought I had mono. Then, by mid-April, the joint pain started; and by mid-May, the inflamed pain in my wrists, thumbs, and lower back was so severe that it warranted a trip to my chiropractor, a friend and medical confidant. He promptly told me that there was no way I could be experiencing simultaneous subluxation (dislocation of joints) in my back, wrists, and thumbs. As I drove to my medical doctor’s (MD) office, reality began to set in—the dreaded Lyme disease had come upon me. No matter how profusely I rebuked it, it did not depart. To make matters worse, I was scheduled to leave soon with my wife for a visit to Rome, Italy, and a Mediterranean cruise. 


I already had a background understanding of Lyme disease because in 1996 my fishing buddy, Jim Navarro (one of the earliest diagnosed carriers of the disease), told me of his bout with it. Years earlier, he had contracted it while on a fishing trip close to Lyme, Connecticut. (Lyme is the town where the disease was first discovered, which explains its name.) When he returned home to Maine, he had no idea why he was getting weaker and weaker until one day he collapsed at work. They rushed him to the hospital where the medical staff was completely baffled by his condition. After many years of suffering, as more was known about the disease and the medical world was starting to understand how easily it spread, he was finally diagnosed accurately. Sadly, a few years later Jim died from what I believe were complications of Lyme disease, and my eyes were opened to the stealth of this evil, and sometimes lethal, enemy.  



Well, you can’t kill a guy’s fishing buddy without reprisal, so I began dabbling into research about Jim’s attacker. What I discovered led me into yet another esoteric world of secrets. I found that the virus was scientifically developed on Plumb Island, New York, as a biological warfare weapon and then tested on ticks to see its effect. It “accidentally” escaped and floated across the Long Island Sound to Lyme, Connecticut. Shortly thereafter, juvenile arthritis and other complications were showing up in 138 teens who all had one thing in common—they had spent time in the woods in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975. By 1986, an average of 1500 cases per year of this disease was being reported in Lyme, Connecticut, alone. 


Lyme disease is a dastardly concocted bacterium strategically released for biological warfare, which was either purposely released or perhaps carelessly dropped from the clutches of absent-minded scientists at Plumb Island in the early 1970s. Regardless, it is currently spreading in pandemic proportions and has become a major nemesis to over half of the United States. The following definition of the disease is from Wikipedia.

Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the Borrelia type which is spread by ticks.[2 Lyme disease is the most common disease spread by ticks in the Northern Hemisphere.[13] It is estimated to affect 300,000 people a year in the United States and 65,000 people a year in Europe.[2][4] Infections are most common in the spring and early summer.[2] Lyme disease was diagnosed as a separate condition for the first time in 1975 in Old Lyme, Connecticut.[14] It was originally mistaken for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.[14] The bacterium involved was first described in 1981 by Willy Burgdorfer.[15] Chronic symptoms are well described and are known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, often called chronic Lyme disease.[12] Some healthcare providers claim that it is due to ongoing infection; however, this is not believed to be true, due to the inability to detect infectious organisms after standard treatment. Infections are most common in the spring and early summer.[2] ~Wikipedia 


My buddy Jim first noticed the attack on his systems when they were already weak, just as I did mine, and this made it harder to detect. It spread through his body, as years later it began to do through mine. It destroyed Jim’s body; but, by God’s grace, I gained victory over Lyme disease and survived to tell my story. So, Jimmy, this Bud’s for you.


My Story


My bite occurred in mid-March 2016, and by mid-June I could barely get out of bed. My wife often had to pull me out, run hot water in the tub, and then walk me over to it where I would soak for long durations just so I could move and accomplish something that day. One morning while soaking in the tub, the pain actually grew more intense, causing my fury to rise and my anger to burn even hotter than the water. I literally spate an imprecation, “I did not deserve this damnable scourge!” I yelled at God, “Tell me one possible good thing that could come from this damnable Lyme disease!”  I was sort of shocked when I heard the Lord say, “How about two?!! Number one, you can learn how to suffer and shut up, and number two, you can also learn how to help others overcome it.” 



I guess that pretty much closed that “bitch session.” I most definitely learned lesson number one: how to suffer and shut my mouth. My wife even commented how “shut-mouthed” I became about my pain. God taught me how He perfected His Son through suffering and how Jesus shut up and took the pain. I learned how He uses us to fill up Christ’s sufferings now too and that we should be like Him by shutting up and taking the pain like He did. I really hurt throughout the duration of the disease but now that it is over, I will admit that I am a better person for it. It is sort of like my house burning down (which happened during the same time)—it looks good in my rear-view mirror. Suffering hurts, but it is profitable and necessary if you want to reign with Jesus (Romans 8:17–18).


Lesson number two, learning how to help others overcome it, is the reason for writing this. The first lesson on suffering made me a lot more compassionate, having been pulverized and tenderized through the process. Almost everyone I know who has gone through Lyme disease or any other debilitating situation has developed levels of compassion and empathy that seem to flow out of them when they hear of someone else going through a similar trial. When my accountant told me he had Lyme disease, I literally broke down and wept as I realized what he would probably have to go through. I feel that way any time I hear someone has it. This overflowing compassion that has developed within me through my suffering is what motivates me to help others gain victory over it. 


In mid-May of 2016 when I went to my MD and took the generic antibody blood-test, it did not test positive for Lyme. I discovered that it’s not that unusual for inaccurate test results if the disease is either too new in your system for your body to have produced antibodies or too long within your system for your fatigued body to produce them anymore. My MD knew better and prescribed a two-week course of doxycycline. I remember it well since we were scheduled to fly to Rome, visit the Vatican, and then catch a Mediterranean cruise ship. The doxycycline seemed to work somewhat over the vacation but at the end of the two weeks, it seemed like the blood hounds from hell hit both my joints and fatigue levels. My MD again prescribed a two-week course of doxycycline, but by this time the Lyme was wise to the antibiotics and began to hide from them. 


One of the blessings during my escapade was that another one of my fishing buddies, Jeff Pittinger, became my Lyme disease coach. Jeff had it several years back, as did his son and daughter; and his counsel and encouragement was a huge blessing. At the end of every one of his calls, I’d be inspired to say, “Well Jeff got over it, and so can I.” He gave me the best advice when he said, “Go see a specialist.” As I contemplated about Jimmy, I made the choice to heed his advice; and I am glad I did.


Through the Lyme Disease Association, Inc. list of doctors (https://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/doctors), I found Dr. Alicia Hollis, a certified osteopathic doctor in Roanoke who really knows her stuff. God bless her and all who have worked to help solve this misery-mystery. Unfortunately, she no longer accepts insurance claims, and because of her expertise, she is expensive. I am going to share with you how she helped me; and that way, if you can’t afford to see a specialist, you can at least get the information she gave me. However, if you can afford a specialist, I highly recommend going that route.


On my initial visit, I filled out a short survey of my symptoms (find online at https://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/images/NewDirectory/Resources/DrB_SymptomList2005Pdf.pdf). Next, Dr. Hollis ordered a blood test called IGeneX, which is a much more critical test than the antibody test that an MD does. The blood samples from the IGeneX test are centrifuged and shipped off to California, so it takes about a month to get the results. However, it pinpoints the kind(s) of tick-borne bacteria you have, and there are a host of them. (My IGeneX test results indicated that I had Lyme disease [Lyme borreliosis] and relapsing fever.)


Dr. Hollis told me that we could attack the Lyme disease with pharmaceuticals or herbs, and I quickly responded, “Both!” She immediately put me back on doxycycline, and I stayed on it for three months.  (Doxycycline is the antibiotic that is typically prescribed to treat tick bite issues.) In my situation, it worked well on the relapsing fever which the IGeneX test revealed, but it did not work on the actual Lyme disease itself.  


The Lyme disease was a different story—it resisted the antibiotic and went underground. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called spirochete, and it is hard to kill. When antibiotics show up, the spirochetes build a protein sheath around themselves for protection and hide in the white part of your joints where there is less blood flow. The spirochetes first attack locally where the bite occurred but then move into your joints, then into your nervous system, and then to your brain. I also learned about a bodily response to the bacteria dying off that is called the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. When this happens, it causes you to feel even worse as the bacteria dies off. (No pain, no gain.) The following definition is from Wikipedia.

A Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction (English: /ˌjɑːrɪʃ ˈhɛərkshaɪmər/) is a reaction to endotoxin-like products released by the death of harmful microorganisms within the body during antibiotic treatment. Efficacious antimicrobial therapy results in lysis (destruction) of bacterial cell membranes, and in the consequent release into the bloodstream of bacterial toxins, resulting in a systemic inflammatory response.
Jarisch–Herxheimer reactions are usually not life-threatening. ~Wikipedia


After I took the antibiotics for three months straight and they had done their job on the relapsing fever but not on the Lyme disease, Dr. Hollis put me on a medication protocol of herbs and supplements. I am extremely grateful for the people who have researched these products, especially when I remember that my friend Jim Navarro didn’t have the same advantage back then. I am thankful for Dr. Alicia Hollis and the osteopathic profession’s understanding of multiple ways of dealing with the disease. I am also thankful God provided the finances not only to see Dr. Hollis but also to buy the necessary herbs and supplements. They were affordable but still a considerable expense, as Dr. Hollis’ bill was. Not everyone is in such a state, and that is why I’m providing the names and contact information of the products. 


The medical protocol Dr. Hollis gave me that I am now passing on to you was specifically for killing Lyme borreliosis. Whether it is effective for other tick-borne diseases, I do not know. There were not just the herbs and supplements, but several other things that contributed to my victory over the disease. Life style changes, including dietary adjustments, were a big part of this. 


The Supplements


LB Core Protocol. LB Core Protocol is an herbal combination that attacks the Lyme borreliosis. It is distributed by Green Dragon Botanicals in Brattleboro, Vermont, (877-591-1874), and can be found online at the following link:  http://greendragonbotanicals.com/products/lyme-protocols/lb-core-protocol.html. LB Core Protocol ingredients are: Japanese Knotwood root, Cat’s claw vine bark, Andrographis herb, Sarsaparilla root, and Dandelion herb. I was prescribed 3 capsules 3 times a day for a couple of months and then 6 capsules 2 times a day for another month. 



Interfase Plus. Interfase Plus is an enzyme that dissolves the protein sheath surrounding the spirochetes. It is made by Klaire Labs, Reno, Nevada, (888-488-2488), and can be bought through other distributors online as well as Amazon at
https://www.amazon.com/Klaire-Labs-InterFase-Plus-Caps/dp/B002MQMA2G/ref=sr_1_3_a_it
?ie=UTF8&qid=152182591&sr=83&keywords=interfase+plus. Its purpose is to dissolve the protein sheath surrounding the spirochetes. I took these once a day for several months and then twice a day for another month, on an empty stomach.  The combination of this enzyme with the herbal supplement above seemed to be the major contribution to killing the spirochetes. 


Immune System Builder. Also, building my immune system was a prerequisite. Dr. Hollis recognized that the Flax Hull Lignans I was already taking (from Flax Lignan Health in Mansfield, Texas, (817-710-6918) were the best she could recommend. I’m pleased to endorse such a fine product and company. This immune system builder is so good that it actually arrests the development of AIDS. It is also available online at https://flaxlignanhealth.com/about-flaxlignanhealth.


NOTE: As a Shaklee distributor, I also highly recommend their products and know that taking them throughout the years has helped not only my immune system but my overall health as well. 


Lifestyle Changes


Hot Tub and Sauna. Also pivotal to my success, and included in the protocol from Dr. Hollis, was the use of the hot tub and sauna. My joint discomfort became so great that the hot tub and sauna became my place of stretching and limited exercise. I could not get in the swimming pool because it made my muscles contract from cold. The heat of the hot tub would loosen the tension in my hands, wrists and lower back, and then I could stretch them in the sauna. It became a means of survival for me and resulted in a lot of people hearing a lot of Bible if they cohabited my heated surroundings. I have later learned that being in a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour will kill spirochetes too. (I learned this from yet another fishing buddy, Mike Evans, who I am currently coaching through his recovery from Lyme disease.)



Alkaline Diet. One of the most important aspects of my recovery came from a statement that Dr. Hollis made to me. I had been progressing well in all areas but one—my pH. The fact that she even brought it up shocked me because medical doctors never check it. She said, “If you do not get your body alkaline, it is going to be very hard to kill this.” This cut me like a knife because not only have I studied and learned quite a bit about the significance of our acid/alkaline pH balance, but I have also written several articles and booklets on it. When she said this, I immediately knew that this was the cause of my struggle to gain victory over Lyme disease, and it’s probably why a lot of people have a hard time getting rid of it. I knew it was time to change my pH through my diet. Since I had written several publications on the subject and its effects upon cancer and other diseases, I knew the drill. 


NOTE: My booklets (I Ain’t Takin’ Acid Anymore, The Cancer Answer [available in hard copy and e-book formats]), and a free PDF entitled “The pH of Foods Chart” can be found at LMCI.org in the e-store. (Go to “Booklets” for the booklets and “PDFs” for the chart.) Another PDF on the site that could be helpful is “Breathing for Life.” 


Apparently, the whole alkaline issue is the main one that holds back a complete recovery from the disease: the body is acidic to the point that it has the type of “soil” that Lyme disease (and other diseases) can easily thrive in. Disease cannot grow in an oxygenated environment, so diet and exercise are vital. 
To compound my problem, I had been fudging in my diet and consuming acidic drinks, including coffee. I struggled with this aspect of the treatment partly because of the ketoacidosis I had from blood-sugar issues. I have since been working together with my MD and gotten my blood sugar under better control and, by the grace of God, my pH has normalized and I am no longer a Lyme disease grower. When my pH returned to alkalinity, the Lyme disease began to disappear. 


Conclusion


From the time of contracting Lyme disease until the time of my victory was about 20 months. I tried colloidal silver, hydrogen peroxide, glutathione, and a host of other remedies that I continued throughout my time of recovery. I also tried an herbal antibiotic in addition to the doxycycline. However, the list below contains what I believe were the keys to my victory over Lyme disease. 



LB Core Protocol (the herbal supplement recommended by Dr. Hollis)

Interfase Plus (the enzyme supplement recommended by Dr. Hollis) 
Sauna, hot tub, and exercise (to relax and stretch muscles, to help oxygenate my body)
Flax Hull Lignans (for building my immune system)
Proper pH alkaline level (this is what took me over the top to victory) 


As I said before, Lyme disease is looking good in my rearview mirror! I hope and pray that this might help you or someone you know. Although I didn’t include this in the list, it is also a blessing to find someone around you who has already conquered the disease to coach you. 


Beyond Victory—Future Prevention of Lyme Disease


To avoid future tick bites, exercise caution in the following ways when you are outdoors. 



Cover up—wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, preferably tucked into boots or socks.

Make sure bare skin does not come in contact with high grass.
Use bug spray (there are non-chemical ones available in health-food stores).
Do a tick check and bathe every night before going to bed, especially if you live in, or have visited, tick-infested areas.


If you do get a tick bite: remove the tick if it’s still imbedded, wash the tick bite thoroughly, put a mixture of Neosporin ointment and Adolph’s meat tenderizer on it, and cover it with a band aid. (It probably won’t even itch.) Lyme disease does not usually develop unless the tick has remained intact for over 24 hours. 


NOTE: Please understand that everything I can possibly provide is included within this blog posting, so there is no need to contact me for further information.