The Family Farm: Allegory of a Nation

In rustic rural Virginia, spread out along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, laid land that had been the heritage of a hardworking, God fearing family. The farm had been a part of this family’s heritage for generations. Records at the local courthouse show the farm had belonged to the family for over three hundred years. The old farmer had worked the land and tended the cattle with the same dedication and care as the generations of those who had handed it down to him.

As the old farmer transitioned into his golden years he recalled how his grandfather and father used to discuss, with great concern, the difficulty in finding someone to represent them in the fields, in an honest and dependable way. He could recall as a young man how the conversations on the subject became more and more frequent and with growing concerns over the character of those they relied upon to make the farm work efficiently.

His thoughts drifted to the people he had depended on to help him run the farm. He remembered Jacob. Jacob was a very likeable guy. He remembered Jacob’s politician smile and firm handshake. When he met him the farmer recalled feeling like he had found someone with potential, someone he could count on to get the job done. Every time he met with Jacob he was upbeat, encouraging and Jacob would tell him how his assignments were moving smoothly, “like clockwork” Jacob liked to say. But different information started to surface that didn’t support Jacob’s claims. Equipment he was supposed to have serviced began breaking down for lack of standard maintenance. Tasks he said had been completed were only partially done, or poorly done, or not done at all. Jacob always had a smile and a positive response, but he had a problem telling the truth.

He remembered the day in the early spring when he was short handed and needed help with the planting. Ed stopped by the farm and asked if he needed any help. The farmer hired him and put him to work that day. Ed showed up every morning and went to the area he had been assigned, but found it more convenient to piddle and play than to work. The farmer made use of him as best he could to pick up some of the slack, but Ed’s poor work habits, what his father called being lazy, set him behind so he didn’t get everything planted he needed to plant.

Old Joe, Old Joe was a man who had worked for him for a good long while, probably longer than anyone else he had on the farm. He had trusted old Joe and promoted him to supervisor over field production where he was responsible for the planting and harvesting of grain, and the production of hay. Old Joe was diligent and hardworking, hardly missed a day. But the farmer discovered that old Joe had been skimming the harvests and selling a portion of the harvest on the side for himself.

The farmer’s memory slipped back to the time when his children began to work on the farm. He had worked hard to teach them how to live ethical productive lives. He had worked hard to instill in them strong work ethics, a sense of right and wrong, of being honest and doing their best in everything. But as they worked alongside the other farmhands they began to pick up bad habits. One by one the children found the work on the farm too hard and took government positions. They found the traits they had learned from the hired help served them well in their new employment.

The farmer now old and unable to keep up the farm, and not having his children there to take up the slack, or hired help he could trust, watched his precious farm deteriorate. The barn wasn’t painted. The fences weren’t mended. The cattle had to be sold. The fields were not plowed or planted. He was only able to keep up little patches to grow the food they needed and enough to sell to pay the basic bills.

When the old farmer died his wife was put in a home, so she had someone to care for her, and the farm was sold to a corporate agricultural firm. They came in and refurbished the buildings installing all the new high tech equipment needed to run the farm remotely. They tore down the old clap board farm house and replaced it with a new brick corporate office.

The heritage of the homestead stood silently on a hill overlooking the farm; marked with simple sandstone monuments, engraved with the heroes’ names, dates of birth and death.

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Can We Put the Pieces Back Together?

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Threescore men and threescore more, Can’t place Humpty Dumpty as he was before.

Cute little nursery rhyme, but it illustrates for us the dilemma our nation faces today. There has been an egregious break down in the moral and ethical fabric of our cultural foundation and the results there has been a melt down of everything else; laws, economy, culture and patriotism. As we look at the condition our country is in we have to ask, as the poet of the nursery rhyme; “can it be put back together again?”

Where does hope for a solution lie?

Many look to the political arena to find the skill and wisdom to reassemble our broken society. But the political genius has all too often proven inept and short-lived at best. They pass laws to try to correct the designed destruction of our constitution, but in a few years a careless populous turns around and elects an even more radical socialists to move the destruction of our liberties and freedom nearer the edge of total collapse.

The present period, of what was supposed to have been an administration of social and moral cleansing and renewal, has proven to be an administration that has pushed the social and constitutional pillars of our country over the cliff and left those who love freedom, liberty and the fundamentals of democracy and capitalism working to try to salvage a few of the critical pieces. We have to watch as arrogant, self promoting socialists drive the historical principles of the most prolific nation in history into the abyss.

Can the pieces be put together again?

The only hope for restoration of this great nation lies in the one whose mercy and grace brought about its inception, establishment and ascension to greatness, God. Throughout the history of our country when this nation was in the process of losing its foundation of godliness and civil order the merciful creator sent revival. The hearts of the populace were changed and the minds of the citizens ordered so his hand of protection and blessing could be preserved and propogated.

I propose that the only way this malicious destruction of that which has afforded us the privilege of living peaceful lives, enjoying the fabulous fruits of liberty and the opportunity to pursue happiness, is a national return to God. Socialism and atheism has inundated our federal education system, disposing of God and establishing humanism as the supreme authority. We find ourselves in a period similar to the time of the Old Testament judges when everyone did that which was right in their own eyes.

The solution today is the same as it was in their day, repentance and turning to God. Only he can put the broken shell of our constitution and our freedom back together again.

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Love and modern cultures:

Elizabeth Barrett Browning spoke of love in these familiar terms.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Love has been described in very diverse and personal ways by almost everyone who has lived, from philosophers and poets, to artists and clerics. Each has their own unique perspective and expectations of love, how it should be demonstrated, and expectations of how it should be rewarded. Literature is filled with tales of love, the tragedy of love unrequited and the exhilaration of love fulfilled. Shakespeare wrote of Romeo and Juliet as well as of Hamlet, plays that reflected vastly different concepts of love.

Ones concept of love is often a reflection of their culture. When strict moral codes are followed there is a public expectation that the citizenry adhere to its standards. When more liberal standards are the norm,  promotion and practices of all types of sexual gratification are condoned and promoted.

These attitudes greatly impact relationships. In the more permissive social order love becomes a recreational activity that promotes erotic gratification more than a meaningful demonstration of love that bonds a husband and wife, and promotes the propagation of ones family. Love and romance become an activity with no responsibility, or obligation to care for and cherish the one pleasures are derived from. One’s intimate partner becomes nothing more than an object of pleasure and self-gratification.

When we look at the permissive sexual attitude we see basic natural instincts unleashed without the properly ordained elements that make the human love relationship significant, and more meaningful than just animal instinct, the need to breed. The permissive culture subjugate
responsibility and commitment to thrill and pleasures, to the sexual conquest. There is a prevailing attitude that it’s alright to humiliate and degrade someone else as long as it provides you with the stimulation and satisfaction you seek. It is alright to abandon the fruits of one’s indulgence so they will not be restricted from future sexual gratification.

There are two distinct natures at work in the arena of sexual stimulation and gratification.  The male nature seeks out a partner.  He has a hunter instinct. The male is attracted by sight and aroma. So, he searches for the image that brings him the greatest degree of stimulation. When engaged by these stimulations a chemical reaction is set off. Specific hormones are released  enhancing his excitement and need for sexual release. The more willing, or receptive ,or what might be considered vulnerable the prey, the more aggressive he becomes.

There are also chemical surges in the female body. Urges that are stimulated by her need to be recognized, desired and loved. She knows how to engage the one searching for her. She fixes her hair, applies make-up, and dresses in ways that best portrays her feminine assets. She finds a perfume that she believes will draw attention to her and facilitate her carefully constructed program of enticement and seduction. Her intentions can be readily discerned by the motivated males. They will seek to persuade her into allowing them to touch her knowing her internal chemistry is triggered by their attention and discreetly placed touches. Special words catered to her interests lowers her resistance to their intentions. Then slow advances, innocent touch in less offensive ways and places, reveal her receptiveness and gradually release her flow of hormones. Once this release of hormones has been initiated she will be driven to satisfy her innate sexual desires.

Nature instills within each individual drives and desires that propagate the species, but humans have been given the ability to exercise rational regulation of these desires and drives. Ephesians 6 tells us that we are to “gird up our emotions (loins) with truth.” Gird up means to bind, to pull up and secure. In the ancient days when the accepted fashion was long robes, if an individual needed to work or run they would gird up their robe. They would pull up the long garment wrapping it around their waist to cover themselves and then tuck it and tie it so it didn’t trip them or become tangled in their feet. It was gird up and bound.

When the writer of scripture used this illustration related to spiritual warfare the concept was to override the natural instinct of emotions and feelings, by binding them with truth. Truth can regulate these desires by activating reason and focusing on the realities of the action and its consequences. Truth requires one to accept responsibility for their actions, and to provide for the needs and the well-being of those who have been  impacted by these actions. Abortion has become an accepted and promoted means to circumvent ones responsibilities, allowing them to  experience the gratification, but not be held responsible for their actions.

Love in the modern culture is diversified. It is as much a “many splendored thing” as ever. But in our modern culture it has deteriorated into a debase, unbridled, animal instinct accepting no responsibility for the choices made and the actions taken. Because of this many have become disillusioned with love  feeling that it is hopeless to secure a real and meaningful relationship. Many experience the emptiness of  this  meaningless drive for sexual satisfaction. They engage in a never-ending journey to find intimate fulfillment, but they can never satisfy the desires of their lust. They fail to discover that the satisfaction they seek is in the relationship they discard. Commitment and responsibility sustains the environment necessary to produce sexual satisfaction.

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Understanding the Environment

If you were going on an African safari in the summer you would need to understand the environment in which you would be living. You would want to know the conditions so you could prepare and make sure you packed the supplies you would need to survive the various elements you were to encounter. You would not pack the same supplies if you were traveling to Alaska because the conditions are much different in the more northerly regions than around the equator. Knowing the environment would be critical to survival.

It is interesting that many Christians find themselves struggling to survive, and many times failing to survive, in their spiritual walk because they have failed to analyze their environment. When they encounter trials and hardships they don’t understand the changing tides of their spiritual journey and they become confused, disoriented and lost in the jungle of the world around them. The Christian life is not always filled with sunny skies and flowering gardens. Believers often encounter hardships and trials they feel are unfair and undeserved. This leads to the feeling that God is unfair and that he doesn’t really love them or care about them. Eventually many drop out of the safari with God and resort to their own plan and desires.

If we assess our spiritual surroundings we realize that we live in a hostile environment. As children of righteousness we cannot peacefully coexist with unrighteousness. God’s word tells us that we are enemies. Righteousness is far too powerful for the ungodly, the unrighteous, and the wicked to stand up against. In order for wickedness to prevail it must do all it can do to remove the influences of righteousness. Why has the Bible been evicted from the educational process of a nation that has as its motto “One nation under God?” Why has everything possible been done to remove prayer from our public activities and praying in the name of Jesus is considered villainous? Why can only one theory of man’s beginnings be taught and promoted in the federal education system? Because the reasoning and arguments of human wisdom crumbles when confronted by the eternal wisdom of God and his righteousness. So, the wicked become angry and hostile toward those who endorse righteousness. Even the promotion of someone who is ethical and moral is met with the most venomous hostilities. The Psalmist in Psalm 120:6, 7 says, My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war. When the righteous seek to promote peace and reconciliation through Christ and the cross the wicked shriek with fear and terror and oppose it with every fiber of their condemned souls.

We see the Nation of Israel confronted with this same dilemma when they were in Egypt. Exodus 1:8-14 describes the environment of God’s chosen people. Years earlier they had been directed into Egypt by God through Joseph. At that time they were only a small family of seventy people struggling to survive a world-wide famine. Joseph, a disenfranchised family member, had become the top advisor to the King of Egypt and was responsible for rationing out the food. Reunited by the famine Joseph persuaded his family to move to Egypt so he could provide for them. Gradually the good will of their host changed and instead of welcome guests they found themselves in bondage and slavery.  The Pharaoh first afflicted the Israelites physically with hard labor, but when that failed he attacked them personally and mandated that all the male children born to the Hebrews be put to death. The pharaoh mandated the first late-term abortions to try to bring them under his tyranny.

When in a hostile environment there are a few things the spiritual traveler needs to understand.

First the redeemed needs to understand that God has a purpose. In Genesis 12:1-3 God explained to Abraham his long-range plan and revealed his purpose for Israel. He he would make his family a great nation. In order to accomplish this purpose he had to take them through some hardships to unite them into a cohesive civilization. Had God not taken them through this period of bondage they would have scattered and become lost in the culture of the godless living about them. Like Lot, they would have found the pleasures and conveniences of the unrighteous too tempting and become caught up in the worship of false gods. Knowing the certainty of this course God would later instruct them not to inner mary with the ungodly cultures around them. Not because of genetic differences, but because of spiritual darkness and the natural tendency of man to succumb to the environment around them.

In Genesis 15:13 God told Abraham that his family would spend four hundred years, in bondage, in a strange land, but he would deliver them and give them great substance. God had a purpose for this chosen lineage of Abraham, but many of this Hebrew family had forgotten about God’s purpose. Others had not been taught about God’s purpose and how they fit into his master plan.  So, when the hardships came they were discouraged by the hostile environment in which they resided.

Just like Israel, God has a purpose for our lives. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that God has a purpose for our lives in the midst of adversity. If we will fail to analyze our environment we won’t understand that we live in an environment hostile to righteousness and we will lose sight of God’s purpose.

The believer must also understand that God has given us promises. God’s purpose for Israel was revealed in his promise to them. He promised to make them a great nation. God’s purpose for the believer’s life is reinforced with promises. He has promised to provide and protect us as we labor to glorify him and accomplish his purpose. When the hardships of the environment press us and try to beat us into surrender we need to seek the face of God and rest upon his promises. Paul states with great assurance that, my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches, in glory, by Christ Jesus. Forgetting God’s promises at the front door of the church after weekly worship can be fatal in our spiritual journey through life.

The great thing about God is that even when hardships and tribulation blinds us to his purpose and we forget about his promises, he never forgets. He is there like the father of the prodigal son waiting for us to return so he can nourish and nurture us again.

We are in the enemies domain. We are members of God’s family moving into Satan’s neighborhood. There is going to be conflict. We need to understand the environment and realize that God has a purpose and we can overcome through the power of his promises.

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Secret Treasures

Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Some people in North Carolina have just rediscovered some interesting gems in a creek that use to be used for mining gold. They have found that there is still gold in “them thar creeks.” They are not sure where the source of the gold is, but they know there is definitely a fair amount of gold in the small stream.

The area was one of the first areas in the United States to have discovered gold in quantities large enough to set off the initial North American gold rush and commercial gold mining enterprises. But about the time of the Civil war gold mining in the area stopped. With the increase in the price of gold a renewed interest has sprung up in the gold that remains hidden in the streams of the Carolina region.

As one panning for gold should know how to interpret the clues of nature and use the tools for shifting river bed materials one interested in discovering God’s precious treasures should be familiar with the methods of interpretation.

Those who have studied the Biblical passages of prophetic writing have come up with a variety of methods of interpreting scripture. They have used some form of the basic methods to filter through the sparkling little nuggets God provided to enlighten his children with regards to his plans for the end of time and the start of eternity.

The first thing a conservative Bible student must distinguish is the difference between the rapture and the second coming of Christ. A conservative student is one who accepts the teachings of God’s Word as literal, and does not try to spiritualize textual interpretations to make them conform to his theories, but takes scripture and establishes his beliefs and interpretations on the context and complete counsel of God’s Word.

The rapture is a term used to describe the catching away of the redeemed. The redeemed being those who have received the gift of God, those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah, that he came the first time to redeem his fallen creation and that he will come a second time to rule and reign as the everlasting King of Kings.

Scripture teaches that this catching away will come quickly and unexpectedly, as a thief in the night. The believers who have died will have their bodies caught out of the grave first reuniting with their souls, and those that are living when the rapture takes place will be caught up with them; meeting them in the air. This catching away or rapture is a calling out of the New Testament Church. Those believers who have been redeemed between the time of Christ and the time the catching away takes place.

The second coming is when Christ returns to earth and reestablishes the throne of David in Jerusalem and rules the world for a thousand years. When Christ returns to establish this renewed kingdom those who have been caught away in the rapture will return with him to serve him in the millennial kingdom he establishes at his second appearing.  The catching away pertains to the believers of the church age and the second coming is
specifically for the Nation of Israel.

The basic methods of interpretation relate to these two events. The issues related to the rapture, or catching away, breakdown into four  categories: pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, pre-wrath, and post tribulation. The issues related to the second coming breakdown into three basic categories: pre-millennial, au-millennial, and post millennial.

How are you doing at panning the gold of God’s treasures?

We will look at the rapture related methods of interpretation in the next blog.

Do you have a position on this subject?

What is your position?

Why do you hold to that position?

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Can We Put the Pieces Back Together?

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Threescore men and threescore more,
Can’t place Humpty Dumpty as he was before.

Cute little nursery rhyme, but it illustrates for us the dilemma our nation faces today. There has been an egregious break down in the moral and ethical fabric of our cultural foundation and the results there has been a melt down of everything else; laws, economy, culture and patriotism. As we look at the condition our country is in we have to ask, as the poet of the nursery rhyme; “can it be put back together again?”

Where does hope for a solution lie? Many look to the political arena to find the skill and wisdom to reassemble our broken society. But the political genius has all too often proven inept and short-lived at best. They pass laws to try to correct the designed destruction of our constitution, but in a few years a careless populous turns around and elects an even more radical socialists to move the destruction of our liberties and freedom nearer the edge of total collapse. The present period, of what was supposed to have been an administration of social and moral cleansing and renewal, has proven to be an administration that has pushed the social and constitutional pillars of our country over the cliff and left those who love freedom, liberty and the fundamentals of democracy and capitalism working to try to salvage a few of the critical pieces. We have to watch as arrogant, self promoting socialists drive the historical principles of the most prolific nation in history into the abyss.

Can the pieces be put together again? The only hope for restoration of this great nation lies in the one whose mercy and grace brought about its inception, establishment and ascension to greatness, God. Throughout the history of our country when this nation was in the process of losing its foundation of godliness and civil order the merciful creator sent revival. The hearts of the populace were changed and the minds of the citizens ordered so his hand of protection and blessing could be preserved and propogated.

I propose that the only way this malicious destruction of that which has afforded us the privilege of living peaceful lives, enjoying the fabulous fruits of liberty and the opportunity to pursue happiness, is a national return to God. Socialism and atheism has inundated our federal education system, disposing of God and establishing humanism as the supreme authority. We find ourselves in a period similar to the time of the Old Testament judges when everyone did that which was right in their own eyes. The solution today is the same as it was in their day, repentance and turning to God. Only he can put the broken shell of our constitution and our freedom back together again.

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10 Spiritual Lesson from the Execution of bin Laden

Lesson Four: Difficult to Discover

Snow leopards are very reclusive animals. For a long time, very little was known about the snow leopard because they were so difficult to find and track. Their habitat is in the upper elevations of very rugged mountainous terrain often veiled in cloud cover. They have a camouflaged coat of fur that helps them blend into the surrounding terrain. Snow leopards are very clandestine cats.

Like the snow leopard terrorists are difficult to locate and track. They build networks that provide extremely effective diversions and cover for them to evade discovery and elude capture and eradication. For almost ten years the best intelligence agencies in the world attempted to locate one of history’s most notorious mass murderers, Osama bin Laden. There were rumors that he was hiding in caves in Afghanistan.  Many thought he was in Iran or Pakistan. Many intelligence agencies thought he was in Pakistan networking with Pakistani intelligence agencies. But it wasn’t until the interrogation of another radical Muslim terrorist revealed bin Laden’s personal courier and he was located and trailed, that  they were able to determine with certainty that bin Laden was in the town of Abbottabad, Pakistan. After months of deliberation American leaders decided to exercise justice and send a team of elite Special Forces to eradicate the hideous mass murderer.

Locating one’s enemy is a very difficult task. This is true in the spiritual realm as well as in the physical realm. It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that we are sinners. We try to cover up the truth about our fallen nature by directing attention  to someone else who deals with sins we consider worse than ours. We determine that since our sins are not as bad as their sins we will be alright with God and not have to worry about the final judgment. But, when we stand before God in the Day of Judgment, it will not be the person we have designated as a worse sinner that will be the standard by which we are judged. It will be Christ.

Mad men who devise evil plots to kill innocent people believe they are superior and have the authority to determine who is worthy to live and who should die. The person who deceives themselves about sin, exalts themselves above the laws of God and grants themselves special dispensations, dispensations that the eternal judge will not accept any more than a civilized society will accept a terrorist.

Sin is difficult to discover, but not impossible. As the authorities of civilized society remained vigilant against bin Laden’s wiles and attempts to elude eradication believers need to be vigilant against sin’s clandestine activities to hide in our hearts and lives.

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