Are you as dumb as they think you are?

We are living in a world that seems to be run by fear and an overwhelming belief that people are too dumb to think for themselves. i have recently been “fact-checked” for a couple of cartoon posts. That’s right, cartoons. If you need to be told that there is some hyperbole associated with a cartoon, perhaps you are as dumb as these fact-checkers think you are! i, on the other hand, have more faith in your intelligence.

Did you know that the Pharisees fact-checked Jesus during His time? “21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.” Luke 5:21-25

Here is another example: “22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw.23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.” Matthew 12:22-27

No one wants to consider opposing views because it calls into question their understanding. Pride is a significant factor in one’s ability to hear and at least try to see another’s perspective. i am reminded of my grandfather’s advice to me when i was younger, “Don’t ever think that you know everything so that you remain teachable. But, you need to know your stuff too so that you can discern truth from lies.” Being open to others’ ideas doesn’t mean you have to believe them; however, it will give you several things. One, it will provide you with perspective. Two, it will provide you with empathy. C, it will allow you a voice. No one enjoys talking to a know-it-all.

This is where Jesus’ examples are relatable to today. Jesus’, responses were in both cases, educational. He didn’t scream or silence them; He simply showed them. They had every opportunity to believe, but their pride got in the way of genuinely seeing who He was. Let us not get so distracted by our current world that we forget who Jesus is or that we are to be living examples of faith. We need to be open to the opinions of others while at the same time understanding not only God’s Word but also the definitions of science. Silencing the voices of opposition is what the Pharisees did . . . we cannot fall into that trap.

You are loved,

cj

A living parable

Adventure through life like it’s a parable. What is a parable, you ask? Well, simply, it is a story with spiritual meaning or application. Imagine, if you will, every situation, every conversation, everything you read or watch, becoming a parable. It can if you simply ask the question, “what does Jesus want to say to me through this . . .?”

“He put another parable before them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown, it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’” Matthew 13:31-32 ESV

This is obviously talking about how the Kindom of heaven may have small beginnings but grows beyond what one would expect. Life is a bunch of mustard seeds. Every word you speak. Thought you think. Choice you make. These seeds grow. It is why it is essential to choose your words wisely, be quick to listen, and slow to speak. It is why we need to take every thought captive and bring it before the Lord that we not be ruled by our limited understanding but by the Truth of God’s Word. It is also why we must choose wisely, be doers of the word; whatever we do in word or deed should glorify God.

Could you imagine the impact one could have if they started to think of everything they do as the beginning of a parable? Considering what a word or action would later produce is kind of common sense, but sometimes although the idea is there, the actual thought is not. You might say it would be too much pressure. i disagree. i view it as an adventure! It’s like one of those old choose your adventure books. You read a little and then your character faces a choice. In the book whatever you choose, you turn to a particular page and continue the story, some outcomes are good and some are not so good. However, unlike most choose your own adventure books, most of our day to day choices are redeemable. That should give us some hope.

i have been living this parable life idea now for some time, and i can honestly say that my life has become a great adventure! i don’t always make the right decision, but i am constantly learning and growing and experiencing life with a desire to have the mind of Christ, the hands and feet of Christ, the words of Christ, the love of Christ.

Join me in my adventure in being a living parable.

You are loved,

cj

“Just the facts, ma’am.” -Sgt. Joe Friday

It has been somewhat challenging not to read Christain books. i usually alternate between a good, who done it, mystery novel, or just a novel based on somewhat real life, and a book on spiritual formation from a Christian perspective. However, since the beginning of this year, i have cut out all of the latter and have been focused on a biblical foundation to my understandings rather than the interpretations of someone else. i will look for insight as needed or perspective from others, but i have cut out reading extensively on one subject. That isn’t to say i won’t ever again, just not in this season.

i want to focus on Scripture and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. i know a novel concept. Yet, so few dive into this idea of coming to Biblical truth by simply reading the Bible and seeking wisdom and understanding or interpretation from the pages of God’s Word. After all, Paul writes to Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Therefore, i have deemed 2021 my year to set aside all my favorite Christian authors and seek wisdom from the purest source, the Bible. With some helpful commentaries or specific short writings but from several perspectives and interpretations to gain perspectives i may not have seen before with the understanding the Biblical text will determine the outcome of what it says . . . if i cannot make sense of a passage in the pages of Scripture, i will sit in it, pray through it until it is made clear. Knowing, however, that there are mysteries and that at present, i am looking through a mirror dimly.

Meanwhile, i am also enjoying my reading of secular novels. As i turn the pages and enter into the life of the characters, i ask myself, “how would i respond, or what would i do given the circumstances presented?” Or “how would i reach this person with the Gospel?” i am not a fast reader, so the fact that i am on my fourth novel this year is awe-inspiring for me. my current book is going to be very interesting for sure and will be a great source of inspiration as i turn the pages of Scripture in order to seek ways to present the Gospel to Edward, the main character. Who often says, like SGT. Joe Friday, from the old TV series Dragnet, would say, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

One of the verses that have spurred this idea or venture on is found in Amos 8:11, “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” i think we are living in similar days now. Now because i have a desire to understand Scripture and to know God, just not know of Him, i am searching Scripture as a miner seeks after gold, and silver, or as Indiana Jones, hunts down treasures.

i hope that my journey inspires you. That you are encouraged to seek the Truth of God through the pages of His Holy Word, with the filter of the Holy Spirit. John records Jesus saying, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26) Why do i find it essential to have a personal understanding, one based on Scripture first, confirmed by the Holy Spirit . . . because difficult times are upon us, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Finally, let me remind us of Jesus’ words during the sermon on the mount, Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide, and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

You are loved,

cj

Canyon Kids

When i was a kid growing up, from 12 to 18, i lived in a place known simply as the canyon. The canyon consisted of several campgrounds and homesteads; Follows Camp, where i lived, Camp Williams, was just up the road. Between the two was Whispering Rivers, which was more of a homestead. These were located up East Fork Rd. West Folk had Crystal Lake Campground as well as a State Park with camping sites. Throughout the canyon were trails, old abandoned gold mines, seasonal waterfalls, and swimming holes dotted the East Fork headwaters of the San Gabriel River. To this day, i am friends with many of those who made up my extended childhood crew, the canyon kids, as we were known.

Follows Camp was host to many significant camping events each year; my favorites were the Blue Grass Festival, hosted twice a year, once in the Spring and again in the Fall. The Renaissance weekend was another favorite, and of course, as a teenage boy who wouldn’t like a weekend packed full of other teens? That weekend was known as the fishbowl; among my friends, to everyone else, it was PWP, Parents without Partners.

Each weekend brought new people, new stories, and cherished memories. Yet, all of this pales in comparison to the family that was the canyon. i could tell countless stories of how families’ needs were met; people came to the support of others as they could; for the most part, people knew and would do anything for each other. Of course, we had our gossipers, our trouble makers, and the like, but even they had their place . . . good and evil.

This leads me to the idea of community and what the Body of Christ should look like; with all of its imperfections, Follows Camp was a greater community than that of the modern Church. That is a sad statement and even a more tragic reality. In Acts, we read about the early church; it definitely wasn’t perfect either. In fact, after reading about how great it was, we read about its flaws as well. So looking for a utopian society on earth isn’t what i am talking about . . . it is, however the target we should all be aiming for and then relying on the Word of God for governance and justice.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47 ESV

And from Colossians . . .

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (2:6,7)

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (3:1,2)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (3:23,24)

Finally, from Revelation 3:8-11,

I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.”

The remnant of the church needs to come together. i don’t know what that looks like but it needs to start in homes, with like-minded people, and soon!

You are loved,

cj

We made it!

my writing has grown more sporadic. i have been finding it difficult to think of what to write, and then when i do have a topic, it doesn’t flow as easily to the keys. i start and then delete and then stop. i am determined this time to sit here until i have written something, anything, and then post it. Why? i don’t know other than i feel compelled to write and beat the distraction and the lack of self-confidence that are my biggest detractors or deterrents.

i was inspired yesterday through a very sad encounter. She was an elderly woman, in her seventies, i would guess but with early onset of dementia or Alzheimers. She was frail, slow, with thinning hair. i picked her up from the cancer clinic, so i can only assume she was or is or had been dealing with that as well. She was, at this moment, very alone. i wondered as i realized more and more of her condition; where was her family, her friends, anyone?

But there i was and although the situation was frustrating, it was so, not because of her, but because i desired to help. Yet, i was limited and didn’t precisely understand fully what she was dealing with, which made helping a shot in the dark. i had some help that i sought from a couple of receptionists from the clinic. Who in the midst of it were as heartbroken and frustraited as i was.

i tried to imagine from her perspective, you know, walk in her shoes, what would i be thinking, and having never experienced such a thing it made it nearly impossible, however, as all turned out to be good in the end. i was able to help her, and now reflecting on it, i can see some spiritual application.

The spiritual relm is a mystery to us, in fact, God in large part is a mystery to us. We have some understanding through the fully man and also fully God, Jesus, even still we don’t fully understand. Paul writes it this way; “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I now in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) Earlier Paul wrote:

Yet among the mature, we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-8

As i helped this woman get home, you could see her mind coming back; she began to recognize her surroundings and her confidence returning. Bit by bit and mile by mile, she knew more, recognized more until we pulled into her building. She exclaimed, “We made it!” i feel this way as i walk with Jesus, bit by bit and mile by mile, i know more and understand more, and i look forward to one day pulling into heaven and exclaiming, “i made it! by the grace of God, i made it!”

You are loved,

cj

Doomsday with cj

First, let me set the record straight, “But concerning that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Matthew 24:36. i am in no way setting a date, predicting a time, pointing to an individual as the anti-christ, or calling anything out as the ‘mark of the beast.’ Okay, with that said, i do want to talk about some exciting things, and at no point in history (although many throughout history have believed they were the generation) have all these things come to pass together. What are all these things, you ask?

Well, first off, up until 1948, Israel wasn’t in their homeland, and much of the prophecy concerning the return of Christ is centered on Israel. So before 1948, the likelihood of Christ’s return would have been, prophetically speaking, zero. Many will argue that Israel was regathered 500 years before the time of Christ’s earthly ministry. However, that gathering was from Babylon, one place, here is mentioned a second gathering, and that from the ends of the earth.

In that day, the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. In that day, the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea. He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isaiah 11:10-12

Now let me point our attention to the headlines of today.
1. China, Russia, and Iran, all aggressively making moves with an emboldened war footing.
2. Global technology burst with the ability to RFID chip, continual Surveillance, and transhumanism.
3. Pandemic, plagues, volcanoes, and earthquakes.
4. Unveiling of confirmed UFO sightings.
Never in the history of the world have we seen a convergence of all these things at once. And don’t forget that from the moment Jesus ascended to heaven, the Apostles pointed to His return. Yet, as Jesus taught, “these things are but the beginning of the birth pains.” Ask any woman who has given birth; the closer she is to giving birth, the more frequent and the more severe the pain becomes. Without a doubt, all of these things are on the uptick, and again i will point to the convergence of all of them simultaneously.

Jesus said, “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Matthew 24:32-35

Now concerning the time before Jesus returns, He also laid out this warning, which is one reason, among several, that i am not a proponent of the rapture. Don’t get me wrong, if there ever was an area of prophecy that i would love to get wrong its this one! my fear, however, in teaching with 100% certainty, that the pre-tribulation rapture is a correct interpretation, is that many will not be ready to endure what Jesus Himself warns us about.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:9-14

Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

i do not write to stir fear or anxiety, but i write that we might be sober-minded, looking up, and ready “. . . but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the DAY drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25b)

You are loved,

cj

A Kingdom Divided

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Mark 3:24-25

The puppetmasters are working overtime to divide us. They are opperating from a postion of false unity that is actually tearing us apart. It is right out of a playbook, divide, and conquer. The more subclasses they can create the more confusion is created. Race, political, economic, gender, sexual orintation, maskers & vaxxers, and of course religious . . . to name a few prominent ones.

One of the playbooks being used is the “Communist Manifesto” and it states,

Do Communists reject existing religions?
Answer: All religions which have existed hitherto were expressions of historical stages of development of individual peoples or groups of peoples. But communism is that stage of historical development which makes all existing religions superfluous and supersedes them
.”

This question is the one that gets me the most especially knowing something about how end-time prophecies play out. It should be especially alarming to you too! There are others that are also frightening, but as a Follower of The Way, this is the most egregious. How does it relate to the passage in Mark? Simply put, as a country so divided we are ripe for a fall and the one who is both doing the pushing and the catching is planning a system very similar to communism. It isn’t communism in its entirety as there will be a religion. A one world religion that worships the beast.

Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.” Revelation 13:11-12

This is the beast that was given the allowance to wage war on the saints. “Also, it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. If anyone has an ear . . .” Revelation 13:7-9

Friends, we are living in a time that requires that we seek Truth. We need to take off our worldly lenses and begin to look at everything through the scope of Scripture and that of the Whole Testimony. We must be like the Bereans: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11

Stay vigilant, and keep your eyes on Jesus.

You are loved,

cj

Easter is a week late; so were 5 out of 10 virgins…

Why do we study the Word of God at all if we are so flippant with the actual dates of events and so willing to intermix pagan holidays and traditions into the remembrance of the most pivotal day thus far in History? Do you think Satan takes delight in the followers of The Way celebrating a holiday that actually takes its name from Ishtar? Although many will say it is pure speculation, the dates line up perfectly every year with a pagan celebration. And the story of Nimrod and Semiramus, a goddess who had a child, killed by a boar, who was raised from the dead? Sound slightly familiar? Oh, and the goddess claims to have immaculately conceived the reincarnation of Nimrod. Hmmm, sounds remotely familiar.

But don’t worry, it can be redeemed after all God likes when we Worship Him as pagans worship. Deuteronomy 12:31-32 says: “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” So we are good. Don’t worry. Also, God changes His mind often, just like the writer of Hebrews tells us: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (13:8) and Numbers 23:19 says: “God is not man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?” Or as Isaiah states: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever.”

Besides, most modern pastors are completely fine with it; therefore, it has to be okay. After all, it is recorded in Deuteronomy that we are to follow after prophets who say it is ok to worship other gods. Deuteronomy 13 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.”

And if your pastor teaches otherwise, it is okay to leave and find one that teaches things that are easy to accept. As Paul writes to Timothy: “3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a]teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:3-5) When you find a pastor you like, you should take everything he teaches as absolute truth and never study for yourself. An excellent example of that would be the Bereans: “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now, these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:10-11)

For it should be easy to follow Jesus, full of constant blessing and praise from others as we blend the traditions of humanity to coexist. “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12) Even Jesus said it would be easy: “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)

So, the fact that the celebration of Easter is a week after Passover or actually at the end of the complete feast itself, which ends for traditional Jews on April 3 and for some April 4th.; And either way, the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection aligns with Passover, the week before conventional Easter, this year, shouldn’t bother you. Better late than never, right?

Do you want to know who else was late? Five of the ten virgins.

25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps[a] and went to meet the bridegroom.[b]2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Matthew 25:1-13

You are loved,

cj

The Cry of a Watchman

The world is changing at a rapid pace. Unlike anytime in history really. Yes, life and civilization have been changing since the beginning. However, with technological advances never seen before, life tomorrow could be vastly different from life today. One could even point to this new vaccine as a sign of the increase in knowledge as it introduces new medical technology known as mRNA. Regardless of your opinion on these discoveries and medical practices, you have to admit that technology is advancing at breakneck speed.

These advances make one Bible prophecy that once seemed more like a conspiracy theory more probable with every passing minute.

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” Revelation 13:16-18

As we seem to edge our way to a system that eerily resembles this passage, we can not afford to blow this prophecy off any longer, but we must be alert and aware.

With the introduction of vaccine passports, cryptocurrency, RFID Chips , and yes, even brain chips, as an AI company known as Neuralink has been developing the technology, we must stay vigilant. We can no longer afford to remain ignorant of these things and how they relate to Bible prophecy.

Couple this with the push for oneness in world religion and the watering down of even mainline Christianity, we are pressed all the more to remain faithful to the Gospel, especially in light of 2 Timothy 4:3-4;

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Like a watchman, i feel called to sound the alarm, blow the trumpet if you will, so that all who hear it may respond accordingly. Be alert, remain faithful, seek Truth, do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly; our Lord is coming soon!

You are loved,

cj

Prayer and Fasting

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hyporcrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you; they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18

There is a lot of information on Fasting and dieting available with a simple internet search. Endless information, really. Most of it will be related to dieting with intermittent fasting and mostly positive regarding its health benefits. You will also find information on Biblical fasting and its health benefits. So i will not bore us with more information regarding this topic along these lines. However, i will focus on what one should expect while fasting.

If the purpose of fasting is to draw near to God, and that indeed is your focus. Whether to get direction or refocus your life and attention on God, you can, without doubt, expect a spiritual attack. As fasting is a fantastic tool to approach God in the way of humility, it also awakens the demons around you, and they will do all they can to distract, disrupt, mislead, and discourage you.

As Jesus is our perfect example, when He was in the wilderness before the start of His ministry, He was fasting and praying and tempted. We need to expect the same. We need to be aware of our weaknesses and prepare ourselves with Scripture to do spiritual warfare.

A real biblical fast should have at least one of three goals, focused worship, gaining wisdom, or as part of a repentant heart. If your reasons for fasting are not based on at least one of these three, there will be no spiritual benefits. If one or more of these is your focus, you should, without doubt, expect temptation and demonic distraction. This spiritual warfare can only be waged in the Spirit with The Word and with prayer.

If i can be transparent here, i always hesitate to go into a season of fasting because not only do i come under spiritual attack but so do those around me. i take the passage above to heart and try to keep my fasting between God and myself. However, this can be a problem if those around you don’t understand why there is an increase in spiritual warfare that if they are sensitive to the spirit, they will sense but without having an understanding as to the “why.” i say this not to discourage you but to encourage you to communicate with those close to you in regards to fasting because those in your home or if in ministry, those with whom you closely associate need to also prepare for increased spiritual influences.

Satan can absolutely use those around you, even Christians, to be a distraction to you. Look at how Peter was used to distract Jesus, “But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:23

Let me wrap this up with this if your motive is on the “things of man,” your fast will most likely go off without a hitch. You might even feel spiritually empty but physically healthier because there are health benefits to fasting. However, the spiritual emptiness will be the result of your focus. If your focus is on the things of God, your fast might leave you feeling hungry but spiritually strong. “And after fasting . . . He was hungry.” “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’ Then the devil left Him, angels came and were ministering to Him.” Matthew 3:2, 10, 11

You are loved,

cj