Ringing in the Changes

More a notice than a post:

In the next few weeks I am going to be moving this blog from here over to a WordPress site that will be hosted through the main website for the ministry, www.eagleswingministries.org

I will still post here, but it may be links rather than a full article. This is a result of pressure to expand the ministry which will only truly be possible by self-hosting.

On the site will be the blog, and we will be developing a “Member’s” area which will have additional materials and merchandise which will be added over time.

I hope you will follow us in the move, but rest assured, the articles on this blog will remain freely accessible.



Who's Afraid?

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.””
Romans 8:15 NKJV
Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.”
1 Corinthians 6:12 The Message
There’s a lot of media play these days about being “x-phobic”, add your choice of word for “x”. Islam, Homo, Trump, Hillary or whatever the commentary is about. Any time a Christian speaks out the cries of phobia are alarming.
We don’t have to be afraid. But anyone who speaks in opposition to anyone else is unilaterally declared (usually by Fox News or CNN or some other channel) to be “phobic” of that particular group.
Now, I’ll acknowledge I have a certain amount of nervousness about the upcoming US election. Frankly I’m not sure any of the major candidates are suitable for the role of leader of the “free” world. But who is, really? The role is a daunting one that requires a great deal of fortitude mixed with diplomacy. But I’m not afraid of the issue.
What’s the deal with telling us we’re afraid if we disagree with something?
The answer is actually simple. The World is afraid. It lives in a constant state of fear. We hear it in every news broadcast. If it’s not a political candidate it’s the environment, or the economy, or Christians, or Muslims, or all of the above. And in truth, the World actually has good reason to be afraid. At the Last Day when Christ returns the World will be destroyed by His Judgement. And it knows it – every living being has knowledge of the need for Christ hardwired into it, but Satan twisted it up so much that they quite literally are blinded to it.
So how do we as Christians deal with the wall of fear we face when we stand up for Truth?
Alarmingly, many are choosing to fall in line with the World’s views about, well, pretty much everything. Mainstream denominations are capitulating to the pattern of this world regarding far too much. The verses in Romans that follow the opening quote from this post specifically address sexual immorality, something which is ignored by most these days, or actually embraced in many places because it’s the individual’s “choice” or “they were made that way”. In the World’s eyes these are legitimate arguments, but how can the Church turn away from 2000 years AD and several millenia BC of morals when the Scriptures specifically say God is the same yesterday, today and forever? (Hebrews 13:8) If God hasn’t changed, why are our leaders insisting we change our views? And where are the voices standing up to them? Where is this generation’s Martin Luther? Or George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley? Or Wilberforce?
The silence is deafening. Leaderless, the church is veering away from the recorded teachings of Christian doctrine and embracing universalism, pantheism, panantheism and paganism, some denominations have leaders declaring openly that all religions lead to God anyway.
CS Lewis compared Christianity to a mathematical equation. The other religions may have a part of the answer, but there is only one fully correct answer – Jesus Christ. All the others, no matter how close, are wrong.
If you look at my older posts you’ll see I am quite fond of a particular statement by William Booth, Founder of the Salvation Army, who spoke of the issues we are facing now a full century ago. Modern teachings suggest, no – explicitly state – that there can’t be a literal Hell (even though Jesus spoke as though He believed there was one), that a relationship with Christ is not essential to being a Christian (nope, I don’t understand that one either!), repentance is not essential for forgiveness (seriously?), salvation doesn’t mean you have to change (no regeneration?), and God has no place in politics (but not vice versa).
Booth saw it coming even before World War One, yet a century later the “leaders” are blind to it.
I’m glad I don’t have a spirit of fear. I’m unnerved even without one.
I’m not afraid of Islam. Or homosexuality. Or (most of) the political candidates.
But it doesn’t mean I have to agree with them or accept them. Islam (the non-ISIS variety) is close to the Truth, but it misses the Salvation of the Relationship Jesus offers. It’s wrong, and I care very much about the end destination of my Muslim friends, but I’m not afraid of it.
Orwell said that in times of deceit, truth becomes the ultimate hate-speech. These days it’s very much the case. In South Africa we have a President whose party refuses to impeach despite the Constitutional Court declaring he has violated the constitution he swore to uphold. Successive “leaders” of both America and Britain have deceived allies and enemies about almost everything they’ve done that has put the countries in the situations they now face. Yet they remain un-phased and, alarmingly, still in power.
But the crux is the accusation the World levels at those who dare take a stand. The accusation that it is based on fear of change. Perhaps in some cases that has been true in the past, thinking of the Inquisition in particular. But in those cases it was the fear of losing control that was the issue. Take that off the table now. Christians – and I’m not referring to the KKK and such who the media would have everyone believe are “christians” – but real Christians, Born-again and Spirit Filled, generally are not the ones in power. Certainly not as individuals.

So we don’t fear the World and it’s opinions.

But the World certainly fears us.

Conform or Transform


And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].
Romans 12:2 AMP
My thoughts this month are very much about being one thing or another. Christianity is, at it’s core, a black-and-white issue Faith. There’s God’s Way – redemption through Jesus and only through Jesus – or Hell. No in betweens.
Star Wars has only the Sith believing in absolutes, which is something portrayed as being a bad thing. The “Dark Side”. Evil. It’s the realm of Darth Sidious, Darth Vader and Darth Maul. Look to Obi-Wan Kenobi and you see, especially in the original movies, “truth” is portrayed as being based on your perspective. The World is big on this concept.
Very big.
Or look at the Narnia and Lord of the Rings movies. When CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein wrote the books the films are based on, the central characters undergo a transformation, but certain characters know beyond doubt their call from the start. Through “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”, Peter goes through transformation from uncertain boy to High King in both the book and the movie. In “Prince Caspian” he retains that sense of destiny in the book, but in the movie he is portrayed as doubtful and hesitant. Similarly, Aragorn – although he has lived the life of a Ranger in Tolkein’s books, is mindful of his destiny. In the movies he seems to be reluctant and the elves have to pressure him to take up the re-forged sword and claim the crown. The hobbits go through a major transformational journey in the books that leads them back to the Shire where they encounter the remnants of the evil they have fought in Mordor, and easily defeat it. In the movie, they travel, become warriors and battle hardened, then go back to hiding in the corner of the inn when they get back to Hobbiton, and the greatest act of “bravery” demonstrated is Sam asking Rosie out for a drink.
Quite a difference.
The movies reflect the attitude of the day. Even in the Marvel movies we see heroes riddled with doubt about themselves being hailed as the greater ones, while the confident and certain are portrayed as arrogant and dangerous.
That’s where we need to begin to focus.
Is declaring Truth arrogant? To the World it’s certainly dangerous. Imagine if Donald Trump were to suddenly be stood up to by a group who actually knew the whole Gospel. Or Hillary Clinton had to face the consequences of lying about her actions before the election campaign. What if there were real consequences for the rampant hate speech most of the candidates have engaged in?
But a Christian who dares to say what both old and new Testament alike say about certain sins like greed, hate, envy, lust and homosexuality – yes, I went there – is decried as being “out of touch”, “extremist” or “phobic” about whatever the issue is. The buzzwords are “homophobia” and “islamophobia” these days. Anyone who dares criticise the almighty Republican or Democrat stance is branded un-American at best, even a traitor in some cases. Beating up people who disagree with your political view has become something celebrated at Trump’s rallies and rendered the Republican front-runner into a demagogue drunk with power, his rallies beginning to resemble those of the Nazis in pre-war Germany in their hatred for those who they perceive as “different”.
And we are stuck as Christians trying to take a stand for clear definitions of right and wrong when all anyone wants to do is make everything grey. The shade they like, buy grey nevertheless.
And so it was for Paul as he wrote to the Roman church. He saw the pressure they were experiencing, pressure very similar to what Christians face today in the West, to water-down the Gospel and make it more “socially acceptable” and less disruptive.
But consider the life of Jesus. Everywhere He went and spoke there was one of two reactions: they loved Him and flocked to see Him and hear His message or they tried to kill Him. There was nothing in between. The broken, the disenfranchised, the marginalised and the outcast and foreigners flocked to Him. The establishment sought to discredit and murder Him.

Compare it to today. Evangelicals who have called out candidates on certain stances have been held out with contempt by the ones who want to be the Boss of the USA.

And I do mean “Boss” not “Leader. Consider the true leaders of the last few decades. JFK, Jimmy Carter spring to mind in politics. Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates in business. Dr King and Billy Graham in the Ministry of the Gospel.

These men preferred others over themselves. They put principles first and yes, they may have become wealthy, but their wealth was not at the expense of others.

Consider the bosses of our time. Trump, Clinton, Reagan, both Bush’s in the US and Thatcher, Blair and their ilk in UK politics (and business in Trump’s case). We are not called to judge men, but we are called to look at the fruit they bear in their lives. Self, greed, envy, fear, hate and doubt are the politics of today. Shades of grey, as I’ve had on my heart recently, have become the norm. Nobody dares to speak in terms of moral absolutes any more.

And we are called to make a choice as Christians.

There is only one choice.

 I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore, you shall choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding closely to Him; for He is your life [your good life, your abundant life, your fulfillment] and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord promised (swore) to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

[Deuteronomy 30:19,20 AMP]

Life or death. That’s the choice. As Romans puts it, conform to this world or let God transform us into His likeness through Faith in Jesus.
God sets out, thousands of years ago, the prescription for today’s great problem by boiling it down to one choice. Live or die. All in Adam die, and all in Christ are made alive.
We become bogged down on semantics about single issues. Certainly sexual sin is important – Paul writes that it is the only sin that a man commits against his own flesh – but we need to look at all the fruit we bear and prune away the dead wood, or rather let Him prune it away so we can bear good fruit. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Temperance. The fruit of the Spirit. People are so focussed in on the individual sin that they, that we  are missing the big picture. We run around trying to convince everyone that they are sinners and they need God by telling them about their sin. It’s like running to a depressed person and telling them their problem is they’re depressed or to a hungry person and telling them they have no food.
In their core, in our heart of hearts, every man, woman and child knows they are far short of God’s standards. False religions thrive on this as they set out how mankind can make themselves right with God. Pray five times a day, don’t eat bacon, it only counts if you’re facing East or West, standing, kneeling or prostrate, if you wear a specific outfit or cut your hair and beard in a precise way or not at all, if you deny anything invented after a certain date. Do this and you’ll be safe from God’s wrath is what the false doctrine screams. It’s a salvation by works.
What Christ offers is so completely different. Yes, Works save us. But it is the Works of Christ on the Cross, not our own. And on top of that, God Himself gives us freely the Faith to receive Him. Eat what you like. Pray constantly or once a week. What’s emphasised is regeneration through Salvation received as a Gift from God, not because we earned it.
All fall short of God’s standards. That’s why He needed to be the one to restore us Himself, to take on our infirmities of flesh and bone, stand up to the temptation as a human man where Adam had failed and gift to us His own inheritance by transforming us into His own image.
So we have a choice.
Truth is very unpopular right now. People look to politics and science, rejecting faith as quackery. But God makes it clear that in the eyes of Mankind, His wisdom appears foolish. The New Testament asks we be fools for Christ. Transformed. Renewed.
So choose today to conform to this World’s standards, as low as they are. Look to a dictator to order you how to live.
Or be Transformed by the renewing of your minds. Let God make you over in His image. (repeat as necessary). Be a Living Sacrifice and allow the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth Jesus spoke of, to guide you in your heart. Leave the facts of this age behind and return to the unchanging Truth of God.
Yesterday, Today and For Ever, God is the same. That means if it was opposed by Him 4000 years ago, it’s still opposed by Him today.
Choose Life. Don’t follow the crowd.


The Church in Crisis
We live in a time where the Truth of the Gospel is challenged more fiercely than at any time in history.
Televangelists spout their message across the airwaves in such a way the Truth often gets missed in the message. No ministry can run indefinitely without funding, and there comes a time when funds need to be raised, but the World hears this and screams “All these preachers want is your money!”
Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes the ministry in question is questionable.
More often they’re wrong. A minister of the Gospel spends hours each day researching, learning, reading, praying, counselling, writing and teaching the Gospel of Jesus. It’s a full time job.
You never hear “All that doctor wants is your money!” when you go to the office with a stomach bug and he charges you for his time, his knowledge, his research, his counsel and the writing of a prescription.
The World ignores them because they don’t conflict with the World’s values.
Jesus dropped into 1st Century Palestine at a time when there was universal deceit. He spoke only Truth, and they killed Him for it.
Today you can be charged with inciting violence by hate speech in many countries, but these laws are never enforced on the people who use it the most: politicians. Rather they are pushed on simple and ordinary people. Bakers who don’t want their store associated with homosexuality because their understanding is that it’s sinful and they want to take a stand for their Faith, the Truth as they understand it. Clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples for the same reason. Preachers who have the audacity to say that a collection of writings from two millennia ago is still applicable in full in modern society, that God doesn’t change and His decrees are absolute.
In some countries they get fired or put out of business. In others they get decapitated. Both are persecuted.
Now I’m not saying I agree with everything here in terms of action. We are called to allow ourselves to be subject to the law of the land, sometimes that means doing what it says, and sometimes it means not doing it and accepting the consequences. Should the clerk issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple? The law of the land says yes. But what is marriage in the eyes of the law and what is marriage in the eyes of God can be very different things. In law, marriage is primarily a financial institution. In Faith it is much deeper than that and goes to the core of humanity’s sexuality.
Be subject to the laws of men. Eventually God will have the last laugh anyway. Two men may enter a non-sexual “marriage” in law so that they have a person they can turn to to make hard choices in the event of failing health. In modern terms, it could be argued that King David and Jonathon may have had a union of this kind as they are described as being of one spirit – yet there is no hint that they were sexually involved. I have lived with men as a younger man. One of my closest friends was my house-mate and confidante for over a year. I introduced him to his wife. At that time he knew me better than anyone else alive, but there was no hint of sexual intent on our part towards each other. We jammed music, ate, shopped, prayed and travelled together regularly. When his fiancee came to visit we found space. I wasn’t dating at the time, but if I had been there would have been the same consideration there as well.
Then came the “Politically Correct” crowd.
It started as a good thing. A moral compass led by men and women of value and principle who wanted to take a stand against the decay of society. But it got taken over by “equal” rights groups.
Language changed. Simple terms like “chairman” were designated as sexist. Describing an individual of African origin as “black” was racist. So we moved into a world where individuals were not short, they were “vertically challenged”, paraplegics were “differently-abled”, those considered not to fit into society’s image of attractive were “aesthetically challenged”. Schools could no longer stream pupils in terms of A and B because “B” would feel inferior. No matter that group “A” was working on quantum mechanics and group “B” was still learning the basic times tables.
And then the PC crowd turned it’s head to God.
Suddenly real Truth is offensive. Christmas has to be called “Winter Festival”, Easter “Spring Festival”. The Bible was removed from schools in America because it was not politically correct to “brainwash” children into believing in God, whilst the doctrines of atheism were planted firmly in place. It reached the point where public schools can’t put on a Nativity play in case it offends someone. This in a society that glorifies sex, violence, drug use, vampires and all kinds of nonsense.


Most children are taught sex education at primary school these days unless the parents specify that they must be witheld from that. I was horrified in England about 15 years ago when I was taking part in a church school activity to find the seven and eight year olds were coming from sex education classes. These kids knew about erectile dysfunction before they knew how to spell it.
Like the Roman Empire, we are desensitised to violence from an early age. An estimate in the 1990s suggested by the time the average high school student graduates he (or she – must be correct) has witnessed 100,000 murders thanks to television and film makers. I pulled out an old movie I enjoyed a long time ago recently, “Malone” starring Burt Reynolds. It was given an 18 certificate for graphic violence when it was released. Compared to films that today get 12 and 15 certificates it was nothing. Even “Highlander” as a movie in 1986 got a 15 certificate in the UK, but the TV series was more graphic and broadcast at peak viewing time just six years later.
I read 1984 by Orwell as a teenager and thought it could never happen. “Animal Farm” and “Lord of the Flies” were also on my reading list. The concepts in them were so inconceivable that we had to suspend disbelief to follow the story and remind ourselves that in a civilised society this could never happen.
Fast forward to 2016 and we have Government bodies regulating what we can say and where we can say it. A Christian TV channel in England moved it’s base of operations away from the UK because it was not allowed under UK law to air any program that stated Jesus is the only way to God because it might offend those who didn’t believe. In my experience with television if I tune in to an Islamic program I expect it to try to convince me that Islam is the truth. So I switch it off. Not so any more, the thought police of “1984” are beginning to arrive.
“Free Speech Zones” are another PC thing. Very Orwellian in their construction. You can say what you like, but it will never be broadcast.
There are certain issues which rightly need to be addressed. Men and women doing the same jobs should be paid the same salary. If a man and a woman have the same qualification they should receive the same compensation for their work as long as it is of the same standard. There should be no place for saying a woman is simply there to make a man look good or vice-versa.
Consider the Gospel for a moment. Jesus is teaching and the woman caught in adultery is thrown at His feet. What does He do?
He writes in the sand.
Immediately the crowd take their attention off the woman and her humiliation and focus on Jesus. “What’s He writing?” “Is He drawing something?”
He could have been writing out the theory of relativity or doodling a cat. It’s irrelevant. His action restores the woman’s dignity by allowing her time to cover herself. These Politically Correct accusers are seeking to trap the Teacher. So He hits them with Truth. Instead of calling for the stoning or asking where the other party involved is, as adultery generally requires more than one active participant (or it did before the internet), Jesus simply says “Ok, but the first to throw a stone must be sinless himself.” Then he goes back to doodling or calculating pi or whatever He was doing.
Thud, thud, thud. The stones fall to the ground beginning with the longest grey beards and finally the youngest walking away leaving only the woman and Jesus – the only one qualified to throw that first stone.
And Jesus restores her. He tells her to leave her sinful ways, but He refuses to condemn her. Read the story in John 8. I love the version in The Message, but they all say it. Jesus refuses to condemn her.
Once a year in Cape Town there is an event called the “Sexpo” for a few days, and predictably there are the “christians” outside waving banners and shouting “You’re all going to Hell, Directly to Hell, Do not pass ‘Go’, Do not collect $200” like some transcendental Monopoly card. How different to the act of writing in the sand.
Researching an article I was working on some time ago I was looking for accounts of life changes and how acceptance works out in the real world. I stumbled on a blog by a writer called Jennie Ketcham called “Becoming Jennie”. I’d never heard of her, but I read an entry or two and found myself cheering for her as she told her story through this blog of leaving the sex industry and trying to find a place in the real world again. Hopefully in the not too distant future nobody will know her for her past, but for her skills as a writer on the Huffington Post, a published author and a counselling psychologist. I don’t know where she stands from a Spiritual perspective, but her actions show a clear repentance – completely turning away from her past life.
That’s what we are called to do. Repent. Turn away from the past and set out in a new direction. Learn from it, yes. But not repeat it. It takes incredible strength to turn away from past addictions. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling or even things we don’t think of like washing the car. Anything that puts itself between us and God we need to turn away from.
I find personally that I’m a work in progress. Like Paul, I do what I do not want to do, and I do not do that which I want to do [paraphrase of Romans 7:19-20] and I find myself spinning in ever decreasing circles.
But thankfully, the thought police are there to remind me how despicable I am.
No, wait. That’s Orwell.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit witnesses inside me that I am the Righteousness of Christ. He convicts me of Righteousness and that gives me the strength to turn away from whatever the sin of the moment is. Currently the big one for me is coveting. Mainly because of things that I had in the past that the old me wants back. I covet the things from my past and trying to recapture them often gets in the way of doing what I know God has called me to do. Procrastination is another one.
The Truth of Jesus is becoming known as hate-speech. We need to guard our tongues and hearts and make sure what we say lines up with the Bible, not the twisting of specific verses to fit the current worldly morality, but the Truth that is constant through the entire Scripture. We need to remember that the Word of God is Jesus, not the book. The book is there as a way for us to find Him.
But if we’re going to follow a book, better the Bible than “1984”.

Shades of Grey

I’ve been haunted recently by a song I first heard on TV before I was 10 yeas old. I used to watch re-runs of “The Monkees” TV show made a decade earlier and loved their music, but “Shades of Gray” stuck in my head.

When the world and I were young
Just yesterday
Live was such a simple game
A child could play

It was easy then to tell right from wrong
Easy then to tell weak from strong
When a man should stand and fight
Or just go along

But today there is no day or night
Today there is no dark or light
Today there is no black or white
Only shades of gray
I remember when the answers seemed so clear
We had never lived with doubt or tasted fear
It was easy then to tell truth from lies
Selling out from compromise
Who to love and who to hate
The foolish from the wise
But today there is no day or night
Today there is no dark or light
Today there is no black or white
Only shades of gray
It was easy then to know what was fair
When to keep and when to share
How much to protect your heart
And how much to care
But today there is no day or night
Today there is no dark or light
Today there is no black or white
Only shades of gray
Only shades of gray

I guess at the moment “grey” seems to be a theme in my thoughts and quiet times. It troubles me. The song – to me, anyway – seems to lament the loss of absolutes. 
I’ve written about absolutes a few times now, and even used the same theme, shades of grey, in titles. But the more I ponder it, the more I see grey creeping in and absolutes being washed away.
Jesus didn’t talk in shades of grey. There was no grey area to Him. Two destinations after death on this earth: Heaven or Hell. Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong. He didn’t sugar coat the pills he gave out, He never pulled a punch.
I’ve been reading about first century Palestine’s culture from various sources recently and a few things made me see Jesus basically went round deliberately picking a fight with the religious leaders with almost everything He said.
Everyone knows the Jews and Samaritans didn’t get along, so the Good Samaritan story is obviously targeted at the self-righteous. What I’ve learned, if it’s accurate, is that some of the other instructions He gave forced the religious leaders into a corner.
Turn the other cheek is often said as a reason for Christians to be pacifists. A little research has suggested to me that at the time of Jesus it was lawful only to strike a man on the cheek with the back of the right hand. Offering the other cheek would force the assailant to either engage in a full fight or apologise to the one struck – in either case, the struck man was elevated to being the equal of the one striking him. Similarly, offering your shirt when your cloak had been demanded would result in nudity, and the one demanding would be forced to beg to not take it. In both cases, the assailant and the one demanding the cloak would likely be from the priests, and they would definitely be in the groups listening to Jesus.
He doesn’t spare the Romans either. It was not lawful under Roman Law to force two mile-markers out of a pressed man to carry your pack, so the soldier would have to essentially beg the civilian to let him carry his own pack again – raising the pressed man back to the same level of standing as the soldier.
No grey areas. The stories demonstrate that all are equal before God, regardless of their position in society.
The problem is that 2000 years later, grey is in. And worse than that, those spouting absolutes have twisted them so badly that anyone striving to live a black-and-white life is in trouble.
Consider the political winds across the world. The most obvious absolutist is doubtless Donald Trump and his “Mexicans are drug-crazed rapists and murderers” and “all Muslims are terrorists” positions. I happen to know many Muslims, and I have yet to meet one who felt the need to decapitate me for being a Christian. I have friends in the USA who have Mexican friends who I’m told are delightful people.
The other side of the coin is the PC crowd who want everything to be right and “can’t we all just get along” rhetoric. Frankly, they remind me of the luke-warm church in Revelation and I want no part of them either.
God says be hot or be cold. Black or white. Good or Evil.
I’m English. Very English despite having not lived in my homeland for over a decade (and finding to my horror this week my passport has expired – oops). I drink tea, not coffee. Granted an argument could be made that scripture says you can drink any deadly thing and it won’t harm you, but I’m not risking it with coffee. I’ll stick to tea and whisky!
But when I drink tea it needs to be hot or iced, not in between. I like Scotch neat over ice. I’m not a beer drinker, but when I have cider I like it chilled.
I realise I probably just shocked a lot of readers. *HORRORS* A Christian who drinks!
Yep. That’s me. Not often, but once in a while I like to sit and watch the sun set over the mountain behind my home with a glass of scotch and just drink in the atmosphere of nature, the aroma of the air and the taste of the drink and marvel at the One who designed it.
And thank Him for allowing me to enjoy His creation this way.
PC people make me mad. I tend to get angry very quickly when it’s a talk about being politically correct, especially when Christians are making the argument.
In South Africa at the moment there’s a concept that the Black majority cannot be racists. It’s a behaviour reserved for whites because of the apartheid legacy. In fact, one Black student, studying at Oxford University in England on a bursary from the Rhodes Scholarship was so brazen in Cape Town recently that when his waitress, a young white student, brought him his bill he wrote “I’ll give you a tip when you give us back our land” on it. Google Ntokozo Qwabe to find the full story.
It’s an example of where being politically correct has gone insane. Yes, safety surfaces on playgrounds are essential and will save many kids from getting fractured skulls and broken limbs the way my generation
did (eight stitches in the back of my head at age 7 from cracking my skull on a concrete playground and six hours of reconstructive surgery on my right elbow at age 11 following a bad fall). My brother may have survived if we’d known about safety helmets for cyclists in 1985 – and I cannot possibly stress enough that I do not and never have placed any blame on the driver Robin collided with. Mainly because two weeks earlier he nearly got me killed by doing exactly what the inquest heard he did the day he died. My heart goes out to the gentleman who I will not name here, but we discovered later was a friend of a friend. I grieve for not only my own family’s loss, but the torment he must have endured as well. I pray peace for you, sir.
The latest insanity is the “bathroom” laws. I can’t speak to the transgender issue from direct experience as I have – to my knowledge – never met or spoken to a transgender individual. I have friends who identify as homosexual who know my position Spiritually, but have remained friends nevertheless – and for whom I am thankful to have in my life. Some are single, some not. I can say that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it should not go hunting with the former vice-President, but I would not be comfortable with a 300lb individual with a beard sharing bathroom facilities with my wife.
Quack, quack.
I believe God made male and female and with the Fall twisting everything in creation because of Sin anything is possible. I grew up going to an all-boys school (thankfully not boarding there) and attending ballet classes weekly. I felt more accepted by the girls at ballet for most of the 16 years I spent dancing than I ever did in a sporting arena – especially rugby and soccer. Although I would have LOVED the chance to do boxing at school but it was no longer allowed – too violent. The broken bones, concussions and dislocations on the rugby pitch had to suffice, so I stuck to tennis, badminton and music.
God didn’t make grey. When we read the story of creation in Genesis – actually there are several, but they all have one thing in common – there is no darkness or shadow in God. That comes only after the Fall. And it took nearly a millennia for Satan to kill the first humans created. (there go the evolutionists).
I debated an evolutionist once. His position was that he was descended from monkeys and mine was that I was a child of God. By the end of the debate most of the audience thought we were both right.
Don’t misunderstand my humour. How we came to be made in God’s image is less important than that we are created in His image. If you take the word “image” to represent only the physical form then evolution may well apply, but if we expand that concept to include self-awareness and self-determination why shouldn’t a Creator take one of His creations and endow it with Free Will and “Dominion” – I love that word as the Bible only uses it to describe what God has and what He gave to Man – over the rest of Creation.
I actually love talking to confirmed “Atheists” as they have in my experience rejected a concept of God. The concept they reject more closely fits with the devil than Christ, so when they describe to me the God they reject I agree with them 100% and it completely throws them off guard. They are so used to being Bible-bashed by well meaning by ill-informed people who yes, genuinely want to see them not spend eternity in Hell, that they clobber them out of any possible way they can accept what an accurate portrait of a Loving God the Bible projects.
I get called out on the wholesale slaughter and destruction in the Old Testament, the most common question being “How can a Loving God demand this murder?” The answer is surprisingly simple. Look at Sodom and Gomorrah. They were significant cities when Lot went there. They influenced culture around them and part of that culture was indiscriminate sexual activity with all genders and ages. It was in God’s plan that a Virgin would bear His Son. If the cities had been left and their influence continued to spread, 4000 years later (+/-) when Mary was visit ed by Gabriel there would have been no virgins of child-bearing age to carry the Christ. Their destruction was an act of Love – and the Bible clearly says that all will have the chance to accept or reject Jesus. The incarnation took place at a specific time in history, but like a stone thrown into a pond, the ripples travel in all directions. In the Fiery Furnace, three men – Shadrack, Meshack and Abed-Nego were cast in, but four figures were seen walking around untouched by the flames, and the fourth was like a Son of God (Daniel 3:25). Yeshua, the Hebrew of Jesus, means “Saviour”. Is it not possible that the man who said “Before Abraham was, I Am” walked with these men who put their faith in Him centuries before?
No shade of grey here.
It’s easy to compromise. We all to it. Heck I’ve been doing it 20 years trying to get this ministry going but looking for reasons I shouldn’t be the one to do it. Each time God has gently (sometimes not so gently) nudged me back into it. The last time was such a jolt it made my teeth rattle, but it woke me from a spiritual stupor I’d been in for several years.
Over my life God has used many gifts through me, but none more than Word of Knowledge. I admit I despise the term “prophet” and refuse to accept it as a title. I generally ignore letters that address me as “Prophet David” so if you feel like writing, just call me David – God calls me David, it’s good enough for me. I don’t even like Mr Beddow! The gift is a burden as I have had times when I’ve been told things about people I love deeply that I have to then help them through and sometimes confront them over. It’s even more scary when it comes about a stranger or someone you only just met and are trying to work out where things will go with a friendship. I actually prefer it when I’m the one being spoken to rather than through.
But it’s black and white. It’s right and wrong, and we need to move away from the madness of the politically correct. We cannot please everyone all the time.
We have a mission as Christians to seek out the enemy and destroy him. Let in light where darkness has prevailed for so long. Give hope where there has been despair.
Jesus Himself said His mission was ““The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”” (Luke 4:18-19 NKJV) His mission involved seeking out the broken, the imprisoned, the blind and the oppressed and releasing them. This was nothing short of a declaration of war.

I’ll say it again. Jesus was declaring WAR! 

Hardly “gentle Jesus meek and mild” we hear about in Sunday School. I heard the story of David and Goliath dozens of times before I read it myself and found that David actually cuts off Goliath’s head. It’s not something Sunday School focusses on. Half the story results in a shade of grey.

It’s not God’s way. We sanitise the Bible when we teach it these days.

I have a friend who refers to some of his friends as “aquatic Muslims” because they drink alcohol. We laugh about it.

But there are many “aquatic Christians” who water down the Bible to make it “acceptable” in modern society. They turn Black and White into grey.

And that grey will lead to hell.

Without consequences what is the point of change? If shades of grey are acceptable to God then why bother with a Bible of Absolutes? Forgiveness is dependant on Repentance according to Jesus. Salvation without Regeneration is impossible. The so-called “Progressive” christians teach a form of christianity without Christ, citing that all religions draw from the same aquifer – and they do: but true Christianity isn’t a religion it’s a Relationship. The aquifer religion draws from brings only death.

Religion relies on shades of grey. Relationship with God through Jesus cannot abide it.

It’s time to rise up as an Army of God and say “ENOUGH!”

Islam is a false religion. Followed correctly to the letter is it actually a wonderful moral guide, but who wants to be the best sinner in Hell?

I’m a fanatic about Jesus, but I’m that way because I have seen too many of my friends and family die not knowing if they ever met Jesus. I can’t be certain my brother did. I hope he did as he begged to come to church and – unlike the rest of the choir – he paid attention when the minister taught, but he was not quite ten and I was not quite 13, and we didn’t know how to talk about God. We didn’t even know we could talk about God. My dad died in Faith. I was with him, holding his hand and watched him make a choice to go to Jesus because he was ready to. His parents both went in Faith, his mum died while writing a sermon that his dad delivered the following Sunday from her notes. Grandad was praying with family just a few minutes before he went home. Part of me wishes I could have been on the other side to see him arrive – he’d spoken many times of how much he was looking forward to spending eternity with his friend, Jesus. I’m certain nothing in Heaven could have stopped him running to Jesus and hugging him as only Stan could hug!

I get attacked for speaking in terms of black and white, right and wrong. Sin and Righteousness. The World has muddied the waters so much it becomes hard to see where the sin ends and the sinner begins, and we are called to do that. Judge the fruit, not the branch.

So I stick away from hostile environments because I have a temper I struggle to reign in and the warrior-heart in me wants to utterly destroy sin where I find it, in myself first, and to help others to destroy it in themselves by accepting Christ and drawing close to Him.

But there’s one thing for certain…

I’ll never be grey!

Grey in the Kingdom of Black and White

In a world where doubt and uncertainty are glorified, it becomes difficult for us as Christians to sound credible.

I touched on this in my entry about a Gospel of Absolutes some time ago, but it’s been on my heart to share again.

We behave a lot like sheep. I don’t know if you’ve spent a lot of time with them, but sheep are not the brightest of animals.

They stick together and do exactly what all the others are doing. It becomes hard to break through that cast and develop an individual character. Often when people do they become ostracised by the friends they had and often leave the church they were a part of.

It’s happened to me a couple of times where I could not stay because a revelation had shown me the problems we were facing as a body, and when confronted I was dismissed out of hand, leaving me with no other course of action.

And it’s ok to leave a congregation if you cannot get behind the leader. In fact it’s better for both you and the church if you don’t stay. If the fellowship is moving in unity then it gives space for God to act, if it’s fractured then abandon ship. Either way, if their course is not where God is leading you then leave and pray for them from the outside. It may be a generation before that body is effective again, but rather let them have their unity in accordance with Psalm 133 and allow God to work on them. He will, but only as they allow him to.

We need to recognise that we are living in a secular world today. What the Bible – Old and New Testament – declares to be abhorrent to God is now the socially accepted norm. A while ago there was a picture doing the rounds on the net of an x-ray of a kiss, declaring it to be “perfect”.

To the left you’ll see what a bone expert had to say about it.

Finding the debunk was a relief for me, and I’ve found several articles saying the same thing.

God made us unique, not from a uniform mould.

There was an episode of Star Trek (I think) where Kirk and his crew beam down and discover all the inhabitants are wearing brightly coloured masks. As the episode unfolds we discover that it’s because they are all identical underneath the mask.

Gene Roddenberry being the man he was was probably trying to make the same point as the creators of this picture, that we are all the same underneath the surface.

Nothing could be further from what Jesus taught. Look at the disciples. If there were ever an unruly group you’d never see associated with one another this is them. Fishermen, tax collectors, hot-heads and some so quiet they barely get a mention other than to say they were part of the 12. Extroverts, introverts, everyone was welcome to Jesus. All He asked was that they repent of their sin and follow Him.

That’s all He asks today as well.

But Jesus sets out absolutes, not shades of grey in His message. As a result He was ostracised and eventually murdered because of it.

It was wrong to hand over Jews to the Nazis in 1939, but most people did it. It is wrong to assume all Muslims are terrorists, but it’s happening. It’s right to offer help to those desperately in need due to civil war tearing Africa apart, but few if any people are paying any attention to the continent. Governments ignore genocide because there’s no oil or natural resources to be gained by bringing down the evil that thrives, turning children not yet 10 years old into murderers.

Evil exists in this world. And it’s an absolute. Darkness exists, but Light destroys it in an instant. No matter how dark the room is, strike a match and the darkness flees.

Strike a hundred and you are bathed in light. There may be shadows, but they can be eliminated by adding another candle.

Black and white. Dark and Light.

Life and Death.

There’s an urban legend that tells of a doctor calling time of death on a patient and going out to inform the family. They are heartbroken. He returns to the room to begin to prepare for autopsy and the body twitches, then wakes up. Astounded by this, the doctor has to go and find the family to give them the good news. “But you said he was dead!” says a family member. “Yes, but he’s showing some improvement now” replies the doctor.

“Some improvement”. He was dead, now he’s not. There actually is nothing between. You’re either alive or dead. It’s black and white.

There’s no grey area in this story.

There’s no grey in Jesus or His disciples either. As far as we know, only John died of natural causes – although some of the more loony-tunes theories postulate that he’s still alive – the others were all murdered for declaring their faith.

A couple in Oregon put their faith before their business and lost the business as a result.

Christians are expected to put up with discrimination that would never be tolerated by other groups. I’m told all meat in England is now slaughtered in line with Halal custom so the supermarkets can sell to anyone – they just don’t advertise it. Consequently if I go back to England I’ll find a local farmers market or butcher that doesn’t do this to buy my meat from on principle. I don’t want to ingest food sacrificed to a false god. But if a Christian makes a fuss about it, we’re told we’re being too sensitive.

Double-standards abound everywhere. Muslim communities can freely declare Jesus was not God on the streets, but if a Christian does the same he’s accused of islamophobia.

The world works in shades of grey. Make no mistake.

But our time will come again. God is a God of absolutes.

In Him there is no darkness. No grey areas.