“Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God…” You may Find It even in the Coronavirus Quarantine

Joseph sold into Slavery

I would not say that God released the coronavirus around the planet, but I would say that He had a plan for good, within its release & effects on humanity.  Similar to Joseph’s brothers’ intentions for evil, when they sold him into slavery out of their jealousy & resentment of him.  Joseph, when victorious, spoke these words to them: “You thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good…” (Genesis 50:20)

It would have to have been within such a time as this – a time of lockdown & quarantine – when I would have been severed from most all of my normal activities – that I could finally face a central reality.  Nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide.  And the alleged ‘refuge’ of being home & ‘sheltering in place’…well, to quote the Eagles’ song, ‘Lyin’ Eyes’ “Every form of refuge has its price.”  Escape from coronavirus became at times imprisonment.  Faltering hope turned into fear & despair. Demons, waiting at the door, found entrance.  Depression crushed.

As a Christian, I know there is, for me, only one truly effective Way to fight these things.

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but I’ve been believing (I thought) in this Way for over four decades, so why was I being so oppressed?  It would seem like I should have been in better shape than I was.  It should’ve been easier for me to fend off the demons & nightmares.

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God causes the light to shine out of…what?…darkness.  Though we think we are in the abyss, perhaps instead we have been positioned for glorious breakthrough.

I have experienced anew the impact of 1 Corinthians 10:13,  the Scripture promising us that God will not give us more than we can bear, but with the hardship will provide a way of escape.

There came a point for me, about a month ago, where I had to jump off a spiritual cliff.  The price of remaining hunkered down (and I don’t mean the coronavirus quarantine!) in an ever-increasing darkness & hopelessness was too high.  I needed that way of escape.  And it was shown to me.

I learned that I had to make a conscious, deliberate choice, with a more-or-less ‘no going back’ clause attached to it.  This may sound simple to you – basic – and it is but I wasn’t doing it.  I don’t know what I was doing! but it wasn’t this:  I realized that the kingdom of God has to come first.  Whereas before the kingdom perhaps didn’t seem ‘real’, I couldn’t relate to it in certain moments & circumstances – and I think that’s to be expected, we live in a world system and also a tangible reality that affects our senses – now I had chosen to begin to superimpose what God says over what I’m feeling.  More than that, I had to toss aside that ‘feeling’, that dread, that fear.  It had to be an absolute choice.  And it sometimes had to be done, if necessary, minute-by-minute.

That may seem like an inconvenience or worse.  Getting really serious about it involves choosing an alternate reality for yourself, in any given moment, and even though you ‘trust God’, that can be scary at first.  Hard to do.

It’s worth it.

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We can experience some horrible sensations, and maybe can’t even put names to them.  But I’ve heard that only two basic emotions exist, love & fear. I myself accept that every other feeling is a version – by degrees – of these two emotions.   And we KNOW when we aren’t feeling love, so…combat the isolation, dread, despair, whatever emotion that grips you, with a related Scripture.  THINK on it.  If you can, take the time you need to see it through.  

 

You have to choose.

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This isn’t a one-time action.  And we fall.  But because of the Lord, who holds our hand, we don’t remain cast down. (Psalm 37:24)

I have struggled with fear all my life, and still do.  I am 69 years old, and have believed in Jesus Christ for over 40 years.  Practicing what I have tried to explain to you just now is starting to bring a relief such as I have not experienced before…I need to do it every day, many times, but this is spiritual reality.  It is the kingdom of God being sought first, and He adds the rest (Matthew 6:33) – in my case, literal rest!  

It may be thought that seeking the kingdom of God first translates to actions.  While I wouldn’t say that’s not true, I think that the kingdom – that over which this King has dominion – begins with how He thinks & what He tells us in His Word.  My starting point in this is what He tells us about fear, anxiety, isolation and such, in relation to His character & promises TO US. Moreover, His character period!

For instance, if you really believe that God is faithful...think about it…always faithfulthat right there causes me to exhale & feel safe.  You don’t need to be a Bible scholar, a student of Hebrew or an accredited theologian.  You do need to know – or learn – some of the Bible, and it’s a good idea to be reading it in order to primarily get to know God in Christ.  Use a concordance.  Focus on maybe just a few verses or even only one phrase, for a time.  Take small bites.

 

Keep it up.

ΑΩ

 

 

When I was first apprehended by Christ some 44 years ago, there was always someone declaring that Jesus was coming back soon.  From Day One of my salvation moment, this statement was constantly being made. But  I never sensed His imminent return.  I wondered why…besides, I had hoped to have a better life, in so many ways! before Christ’s return.  Well, right or wrong, that was how I felt.  

For the first time, NOW  I have finally sensed that the whole planet is being prepared for His return.

 

I think that’s what this coronavirus is about.

ΑΩ

 

Coronavirus, the World System, and the Son of God

so here we are, as a nation that is part of a global pandemic…our familiar routines lifted from around us as we are transplanted into others. Not sure how long it will be this way. Many are wondering, will things Joseph Prince the New Normal?actually, fully return to what we call ‘normal’? ( Is This Lockdown The New Normal? )

I had planned to write a post based on an alleged quote of Franklin D. Roosevelt, America’s 32nd President.  Research revealed to me that there is no proof President Roosevelt ever actually made that statement. So I’m feeling a little deflated right now! But, even so…I want to continue with my thoughts on possible motives & forces behind the coronavirus.

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Right off the top, I want to make it very clear that I see God in this. I see Him large & in charge. I do not mean that I believe God is smiting the earth with a viral plague, that His intentions are to judge, punish or hurt. And yes, I know many have died. Yet He wasn’t taken by surprise when COVID 19 began to manifest around the world. (In fact, pastor Joseph Prince sees this viral strain as demonic ’catch up’ to a special supernatural healing released by the Lord earlier in 2018. YouTube)

Regardless of how our ‘normal’ may or may not change, the Lord is present. JESUS is here. His eye is on Give Thanks in All Thingsthe sparrow. As a believer, He knows what you need before you ask, and in some cases, He answers while you are yet speaking, right?!! Psalm 86 tells me that the LORD is plenteous in mercy unto all who call upon Him, and the Hebrew word for ‘all’ used here (#3605 in Strong’s Concordance) does not appear to exclude anyone.

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I myself seriously consider that, as some believe, the coronavirus was bio-engineered & deliberately released into the world. If you are not someone who has even remotely thought of such things, this sounds ludicrous, I know. Five years ago, that was me. Not so much these days, though…

Once I focused & did an internet search, I found enough online information to remind me of this possibility. I continue to ponder it. The Scriptures tell us of the existence of a present ‘evil age’. They remind us that our true warfare is not against flesh & blood but against ‘powers and principalities’ (Ephesians 6:12)). So there is justification to consider a darker source behind a global sickness, something other than just an outbreak of germs & viruses that multiplied and spread on their own.

Knowing only a little bit of what goes on in the world system (or appears to go on) and then looking at some of the behaviors that have developed, as a result of COVID 19, I have to wonder…

For instance: for years, I have been suspicious of the true intent behind the internet. I continue to be suspicious. This ‘lock down’ is removing us even further from normal human interaction & increasingly confining us to an isolation within which we are looking at screens. Globally, we are being fed information that is tied into and determined by cybernetics, data programmers & AIs. Too much control is being taken away from us.

Another pattern of changing behavior that I’ve seen developing in my area, is substituting electronic actions for cash transfer from hand-to-hand, to hinder the spread of the virus. Yes, it’s a good & safe idea, but still, it’s another move towards an increasingly cashless society (Mary Stewart Relfe, Ph.D., The New Money System). This particular instance involves public transportation, and likely it’s temporary.  Still…I notice it. I wonder.

I am pointing these out as examples of what could become a ‘paving of the way’ for Antichrist, a one world/New World order leader. My intention is not to over-dramatize the agendas that are probably in place, and have been, since the downfall of man in the Garden, but to simply remind people that perhaps something else is going on here. And to become aware of the Antichrist’s nemesis: THE Christ who has come in the flesh, and will come again.

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Lana Vawser Ministries has posted a word of great comfort from the Lord, concerning these times of coronavirus, while we are being set-in-place: “THERE IS SO MUCH GRACE AND HELP FROM THE LORD FOR YOU IN THIS TIME OF RESET AND TIME OF REALIGNMENT!  Regardless of any diabolical sources – if so be – behind this pandemic, God is greater. In my heart, I think He desires those things that need to be shaken & removed, or severed from us in our individual situations, to be so severed & removed, that we may begin to regain a focus that perhaps many of us have lost, or that has become faded. For some, it may be a new focus, a first-time experience! Amen & Hallelujah! What great rejoicing!

And if some are thinking, does God need to let a PANDEMIC (or even just the fear of one) course throughout the earth just to get our attention? Really? I would answer, if you knew Who He is, and what He has done in Jesus Christ, you would understand.  Because you DON’T understand, for your own good, yes, He does.

He wants you to know Him. He wants you to know His love.

While powers & principalities, working through the world system & fear, are seeking to pave the way for their own destructive, satanic purposes, the Risen Lord is paving the way for something else – for you & I to know Him, or know Him better, and life abundant in & through Him, now & forever.  Because forever is real.  Amen.

Which is why I say that I see God in this.

I Said m Coming Back...

Rolling Away the Stone…Coronavirus

I recently found myself unexpectedly reading Psalm 94. The plan had been Psalm 91, as so many have been turning to for reassurance & comfort in these coronavirus days. But I got ‘sidetracked’…or did I?

I had underlined a certain verse in the psalm, which of course caught my eye. That night, while downloading a Derek Prince video teaching, I hear him reading that very same Scripture, but couldn’t place where I had just heard it.

Today, picking up in Psalm 94, I see the verse in question. Aha! I think. I’ll start reading here today, and see where it takes me…I end up being intrigued by verse 20: “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?” I don’t recall ever seeing the term ‘throne of iniquity’ before. (Of course that immediately brings to mind the ‘throne of grace’… a SO much better reality!) Nor do I recall any language about framing mischief by a law.

Looking into these phrases, flipping pages as I cross-checked this & that, I arrive at Psalm 37. I wasn’t intending that, it just ‘happened.’

Almost pulsating off the page – I could not ignore it – was verse 5: “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.”

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Let’s take a look at that word ‘commit’.

The literal Hebrew translation of this specific text is to roll. It could be interpreted, to run down (as water?) or, interestingly enough, to wallow. When we ‘roll’ something away from us, and/or towards another, we have to let go of it.  It’s out of our hands! If something is ‘running down’, it is also out of our hands! And when we think of ‘wallowing’ in something, well – when I wallow, I’m not exactly trying to control whatever I’m wallowing in (even if I should be…)

While pondering the idea of rolling something away, another rolling action occurred to me: “And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.” (Mark 16:4)

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While all doing our parts, from sustained medical & scientific research to faithful hand-washing, mask-wearing & social distancing as required, there needs to always be that most essential component of the formula to eradicate the coronavirus: the energizing power of the LORD to roll far away the stone of COVID 19, as we commit its defeat to Him.

 

 

stone rolled away

The United States of America, bearing Shades of …the Renaissance…?

I suspect that many of us, when we have occasion to think about America’s founding, might have a kind of limited vision.

I become more intrigued every day by our spectacular history. But until recently, the extent of my awareness was limited to specific Revolutionary times & events. Seeing a larger picture brings about a cohesiveness for me, that allows an appreciation & a respect for other countries, cultures & times that I just plain didn’t have before…

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When I first began to be interested in America’s founding & Founders, my focus was initially on our first Commander-in-Chief, General & President George Washington. His background still gives me great pause. My respect for & gratitude to God, for how He worked to fashion & equip this man to lead into being the greatest country ever to exist, becomes ever more profound.) Those thirteen United States of America were my only focus. From there, I soon moved forward & then branched outwards, into related topics. But I never really ventured backwards too far beyond the Revolutionary past – except for George Washington’s & Thomas Jefferson’s!

Like arriving at a movie theater a half-hour late – you have to get your bearings & find out what happened before you arrived!

In actual historical knowledge covering centuries, that can take some doing…and some time…to catch up. I suspect I/we never really will – not on this earth, in this age and dimension. It will probably take eternity to catch the full vision of God’s intentions for America, woven into the awesome tapestry of all that exists, has existed, and will exist according to the heart, mind & works of Yahweh.

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So often, I have seen language like this: “The Preamble {to the Declaration of Independence}has often been cited as a great political and a great human statement…this represented the first time in history that these principles were being put into action, as the basis for founding a new government and a new nation.” This statement continues “…in one sudden thrust…a kind of freedom that before had been only a matter of philosophical discussion…” had become that hallowed goal to which our founders most solemnly committed their all. (Vincent Wilson, Jr., ed., The Book of Great American Documents)

My heart soars whenever I read such words!

But, as I learned more about the thinking of our Founding Fathers, I discovered that much of the structure and ideas underlying & leading to our form of government had come from ancient Greece and Rome, among other sources. Since then, it has surprised me to realize that much of what I had considered uniquely American ideals & practices had their origins elsewhere. It was, in fact, opposition to the eventual corruption of systems of liberty elsewhere in the world, that provided a written narrative that crossed the Atlantic & fueled the thought processes of the Americans, leading the way to our great war for independence.

To my even greater surprise, the very country from which we so radically broke – England – has been quoted as at one time being“…a uniquely favored people, the freest in the world.”(Stanley Elkins & Eric McKitrick, The Age of Federalism) The England I had known was ruled by the tyrant King George III, so when did this happen?! Not only had England once been a country with a markedly American-sounding governing body, but shades & tones of future colonial ideals and endeavors appeared in the 15th., 16th. and 17th. centuries as well.

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Renaissance Italy provided what came to be a rebirth in the colonies, in times preceding the American Revolution, a “revived perception of the collectivity of public life…which men might think about and be a part of…”and which life, especially political, included virtue. (Stanley Elkins & Eric McKitrick, The Age of Federalism)

I backtracked to what is today the city of Florence, searching out its medieval past, and found it to be quite interesting. “…Michelangelo created his famous statue of David to be located in front of the Palazzo della Signoria as guardian to the Florentine freedom.” (About Florence)  By mid-15th century, in fact, the Florentine people considered themselvesthe heirs to the Ancient Roman Republic, prepared to sacrifice for the cause of freedom and liberty.” Does not such a mindsetdeclaration (2) foreshadow language to be penned over two centuries later, by men who, for the cause of freedom & independence, pledged their own lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor?

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Archaeological findings point to an Etruscan village, settled around 200 BC, as being the beginnings of Etruria_map_METFlorence. Interestingly enough, the ‘small town’ of Rome had been included in Etruscan territory as well, until about three centuries earlier; it broke away & in succeeding decades gained control of some of the surrounding settlements. Eventually, it moved against Etruria, which had become a very powerful league of kings, and prevailed. By the time Florence was established, Etruria had been under Roman rule for about 65 years. The tables had been turned, Rome was in charge & Florence dwelt under its dominion.

A more commonly accepted history is that Julius Caesar, in 59 BC, constructed a garrison, Florentia, on the Arno River, connecting Rome to northern Italy & what is now known as France. It is unclear as to whether the garrison was built on the site of the pre-existing settlement of Florence. Either way, Florence was birthed within Roman territory. And Rome sprang from, and was influenced by, Etruria & its ways, including its theocratic republics.

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I’m not finding much about Florence during the centuries between its Etruscan village days & the 1100’s AD. At one point, it became a part of a territory called the Marquisate of Tuscany, which was founded in

Tomb_of_Countess_Matilda_of_Tuscany_by_Gian_Lorenzo_Bernini

Tomb of Matilda of Tuscany

the 9th century AD. Mid-11th century, Matilda of Tuscany was given rulership over the Marquisate. Matilda was “one of the few medieval women to be remembered for her military accomplishments”, and “one of the most important figures of the Italian Middle Ages.” Florence may not have had much choice about existing within her powerful domain, but upon her death in 1115 AD, it resisted her successor, resulting in bloodshed & his death, and established itself as a free commune.

First mention of Florence as an official republic has been recorded as in 1138 AD. At that time, the city Florence Republic, Italy_1494ADjoined with several others in forming a league against Henry X, Margrave of Tuscany and duke of Bavaria. (It was feared that Henry, who had previously oppressed them as imperial legate, might be elected emperor.)

(Note: It’s interesting to me that, according to a study conducted through the University of Florence in 2004, about 15 old, aristocratic families (money & power?) settled in Florence during the 100 yr. period prior to Matilda’s death, after which the city came into its own as a recognized republic. I say that this influx of established families is ‘interesting’ because it is today considered by many that this world is run covertly by about 12 or 13 wealthy, elite families, such as the Rothschilds or Rockefellers, among others. Were similar agendas in place in Italy during the 12th century as well?)

After the failure of the 1378-1382 popular regime and the disappearance of the guild regime, a small number of families, long present in positions of state power, are said to have stolen political power…” (An Invisible Princely Regime, Cairn.info)

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As a free commune, life in Florence was governed by a nine-member council called a signoria. Headed by a gonfaloniere, the council members & their leader were replaced every 2 months. The new members were chosen by lottery. “The lottery was often pre-determined, and the results were usually favourable to influential families.” (Strathern, Paul, Medici: “Godfathers of the Renaissance”)

Additionally, to even be considered for a seat on the signoria, one had to be a member of one of Florence’s main guilds: bankers, judges & merchants.

Florence was simultaneously a political regime that favoured citizen self-government and a system largely controlled by a ruling political class” (Cairn.info)

(Sound a little…contrived? Slanted in favor of the more accomplished, wealthy, powerful? Remind you of any modern-day power structures?)

…nonetheless…”the ideals that emerged in Florence at the very end of the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth centuries…having numerous roots in classical Greek and Roman philosophy, as well as in the political philosophy of the Middle Ages…would ultimately have important repercussions on the constitution of a specifically modern republican tradition.” {bold mine} (Civic Humanism and Republicanism, Cairn.info)

It was…in Florence that the modern concept of the republic was created…”

…deliberative and electoral techniques and the forms of voting that would become standard in modern politics“ were practiced in the Florentine republic. (Florentine Political History, Cairn.info)

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Some are familiar with the concept of America as a ‘redeemer nation.’ In his preface to Redeemer Nation: the Idea of America’s Millennial Role, author Ernest Tuveson introduces a quote from an historian-statesman of the turn of the 19th century. In it, he declares what he believes is the purpose & calling of the nation. The quote ends with these words: And of all our race He has marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the redemption of the world.” (Albert J. Beveridge) Tuveson questions, ‘when & how did the conception of an American redemptive mission begin?’ He believes those moments arrived during the reversal of certain interpretations of history that were prevalent during the Middle AgesThe Machiavellian Moment and the Renaissance periods, interpretations concerning St. Augustine’s ‘city of God.’ It began to be thought that perhaps a life of citizenship & being active in the commonwealth might be more desirable, or at least comparable to, a contemplative life.  what was happening to the earthly republic here & now, or what might happen & why; and how the actions of men, both immediately and over time, could bear on its fate…” (J.G.A Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition)

Near the end of the 15th century, Dominican friar, preacher/prophet & reformer Girolamo Savonarola, active in Renaissance Florence and her spiritual & civic life, worked zealously to restore the strict virtues

Savonarola

Girolamo Savonarola

of republican piety to the city. Savonarola denounced tyrants in government & corruption in the clergy. He sought to purge worldly, lewd excess from the city. If she would be penitent & turn to more Godly ways, he declared that Florence would become the “New Jerusalem, the world centre of Christianity…” (Under torture Savonarola eventually confessed to having invented his many prophecies and visions, using them as “a means of enhancing his worldly glory…and effecting his political will.” Yet such a ‘prophecy’, so similar to a coming American ‘redeemer nation’ belief, gives me pause. Do we see a precursor of the future here?)

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Researching this amazing city, I am almost stunned by the crushing constancy of powers opposing its freedom. Valiantly, the people of Florence resisted princely rule longer than any commune excepting Venice. Though remaining a republic for four centuries, the clashes & turmoil, both external as well as internal, never ceased. Coups, conspiracies & assassinations peppered the times. Kings, dukes, popes & emperors marched relentlessly across the stages of Florentine history, sometimes allies, sometimes adversaries. The marriage of secular & religious power, to achieve might, shocks me. Even worse, “…Cardinal Giovanni de’Medici captured Florence with Papal troops during the War of the League of Cambrai.” (Wikipedia) Papal troops? ‘Religious’ military? What was that supposed to be, force in the name of Jesus?

In the end, a similar act of papacy-fueled civil dictate, paired with a powerful family, shut down the Florentine republic forever. “In 1533, Alessandro de’Medici was created Duke of Florence by his uncle Pope Clement VII.” Alessandro’s successor was made Grand Duke of Tuscany thirty-six years later. The Medici ruled as grand dukes over Florence until their extinction in 1737.

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As an American living in the early 21st century, reaching back in time to learn a little of the rich & complicated histories that wove life together, centuries ago, in the days of an earlier republic, I can’t help but sense a kinship of sorts. Though the Florentine republic fell, she too, as did the thirteen American colonies in 1776, stood for freedom.

Managing freedom, where men are not angels, is no easy task.  Florence’s struggle, I think, was Herculean. (As is ours in the United States of America even today.) The forces that seek to steal & abuse freedom, in her case, finally succeeded. Wealth, families in power, papal/’religious’ power…not a mix conducive to liberty.

It appears to me that we in the United States of America have inherited many good things from this once thriving city-state. It seems to me that God was working through them, for our future benefit, planting seeds of blueprints, clues, instructions for government. But in my readings concerning Florentine history, though I did find many mentions of popes, I saw no mentions of Jesus. Simple, New Covenant knowledge of the Savior.

Perhaps that was their fatal flaw?

 

More than just a Signature

Reblogging a favorite post of mine…Francis Lewis, a signer of our Declaration of Independence, played a critical part in the success of the Revolutionary War.

Jesus, the Revolution & You

Have you ever heard of Francis Lewis?  Does the name Abraham Clark ring a bell?  How about John Hart?

Some of you may have guessed that these are the names of three of the men who, along with 53 others, signed that most historic of all documents, the Declaration of Independence.  But do you know their stories?  In fact, do you know anything about any of those men who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor for the cause of freedom?  We all know about Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, but the majority of these forefathers of ours remain in obscurity for most of us, I imagine.

This shouldn’t be.

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I believe with all my heart that those Founding Fathers with whom we are all familiar were destined by God Himself to be our Founding Fathers.  I also believe that each of the 56 men who signed our…

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