"Oh, the times they are a changin'." This famous lyrical line by singer/songwriter, Bob Dylan couldn't be more relevant to the era of today. In fact, it strikes a prophetic chord that rings with a staggering reverberation, in the minds of many. However, as they would attest, in contrast to the tune by the iconic Dylan, it does not a have the waltz like and melodic, folk song, appeal to it. No, it's tone is more likened to a psychotic, heavy metal, demonic, screech. You know, that type of song that makes one wince & cringe, as if expecting a big thump on the top of their skull.
As I've expressed before, creating original music is and always has been a primary passion of mine. With the more recent bombardment of disturbing and current world events, that passion has taken a reluctant back seat to an unsolicited sense of urgency for action, fasting and prayer. I would describe the nudging sensation as nearer to a badgering teacher who's provoking me to address my deep lamentations for what I see coming and have envisioned for many years. Because of this disturbing intrusion, I can hardly bring myself to spark an interest in the God given desires of my heart, on certain days.
In the not so distant past, I battled a bout of depression that felt like my heart would give out. It was more than the typical, clinical, symptoms of a depressed individual. It was closer to an overwhelming and direct attack by the Devil himself, as it was once before in an earlier time of my life. The latter, however, was mixed with a true broken heart. Broken over the direction that some of my condoning; friends, church leaders and congregations, have turned toward. It doesn't end with my inner circle of loved ones. I see it devouring entire societies. It is the acceptance and sometimes the celebration of decadence, or sin, as described in the bible, only they don’t seem to see it as such. I think maybe they believe that if so many other people believe certain behaviors and theologies are acceptable, then it must not be immoral or sinful. I really wish that they would read and study their bibles more, if they do read it at all.
It’s my hope that they would pray for discernment and wisdom about the indisputable truths in scripture and the core tenants of the Christian faith. I and others see this tilted and sweeping mindset as a demonic takeover of everything good and true, outside of God’s elect few. Like a virus, it seems to be eliminating the desire to seek out God and to know the righteousness that comes from Him, through HIS WORD.
It reminds me of the prophecies that describe the end times, when people receive the mark of the beast, which causes them to worship him and will take them into eternal damnation. It isn't going to be taught with an obviously evil and disgraceful agenda. No, Satan is much smarter than to expose his deceitful plan in that manner. This can be achieved through subtle lies and the twisting of scripture, mixed with biblical verses that have a feel-good effect. To many, it can actually seem like a compassionate and righteous work of faith. To unsuspecting victims, whom are not well trained in biblical theology and principals, can easily be led astray. One must believe that the whole bible is the inherent word of God and routinely immerse themselves in it to avoid deception.
It is still unknown exactly what form the mark of the Devil will take, but the micro computer chip seems to be the most logical scenario and the most popularly believed theory, since biblical prophecy beholds that it will be received on the hand, or forehead, of it's partakers. That proclamation and the following text which teaches that no one will be able to buy, nor sell goods, except they that receive the mark of the Beast (Anti-Christ) tends to lead the reader to speculate that the mark will be physically applied, rather than a spiritually administered mark. It just may be a two in one seal of fate.
I'm confident that the recent, relentless and demonic attack on me, was the immediate result of my sincere repentance for my transgressions before the Lord and my renewed obedience to His will and purpose for my life. It brought me to my knees, even prostrate and exhausted my strength. I was sorrowfully weeping for lost souls and for my own wavering upright behavior. This is not to say that I am aware of whom are condemned to an eternal separation from God, but it is an acknowledgement of the bible’s claim that there will be a large number of souls that will not inherit His kingdom.
My repentance included putting away a couple of unbecoming behaviors, of which were creeping back into my life. My actions, although possibly not severely sinful, none the less, were not bringing glory to God. I was stricken, however, to the extent that at one point, I could not muster the strength to rise to my feet. Thoughts that my life might have reached it’s end, were crossing my mind.
Satan hates when we put down the things that feed our flesh, which are not pleasing to the Father, nor bringing glory to His name. The Deceiver is prone to wage an all out assault on the repentant heart, soul and mind. Unholy deeds are applications of lustful desires and they are the seekings for the world's acceptance, rewards, pleasures and praises. Submitting to them can make ones life easier and even seem more fulfilling, but only for a season. The day will come when that person will realize that this life is the extent of their reward and will see the everlasting treasures that they could have had, if only they hadn't traded them for temporal frills. It’s a very sad, dark and hopelessly futile feeling, for me, to even imagine being eternally stuck in that state of existence, let alone experiencing it.
One might ask their self; "How can a devout Christian, who claims to be immersed in God's word and who knows fully well, that to be with fear and trembling and even wrestling with depression, which is contrary to His expectations of believers, can succumb to these very things? Why, also, knowing that our loving and protective Creator, who expects His children to be free from fear, is he not?" Others may simply conclude; "His turmoil is a direct result of transgressions against God and man. He is suffering the consequences of the Lord's wrath. It is punishment for his self righteousness and/or deviant behavior." Keep in mind, if you will, God punishes those that He loves. If you seem to be free from consequences, this should give one reason to be concerned, to pause and ponder upon the question; “Why do I seem to be getting away with this behavior, when my deeds are less than acceptable and even offensive to a holy God?”
Actually, I have asked myself and God the same questions, barring the one about consequences for bad behavior. I've never gotten away with that, for a long time. Thanks be to Him. Then, I started remembering some men of God, as described in scripture, whom had struggled with some of the same, heavy, experiences, that I have. Job came to mind, first. Not to try to place my suffering on the same level as his was. What's more, he was most likely less of a sinner than I am. Then there was King David and even Jesus, whom being fully man and fully God, seemed to suffer a type of anguish, when he went off to pray alone, knowing it was only a matter of hours before he was to be incarcerated and lead away to his horrific and excruciating death.
Sometimes, God will allow the spirits of darkness to attack His saints, in order to show satan, the world and God’s chosen people, the power of faith and trust, in Him. This is a testament to the world, to display the depth of endurance that can be achieved by entrusting one's life and death to the love of our Almighty Creator.
I knew in my heart what was happening, through fasting, praying and in communion with the Holy Spirit. As severely anxious as I was feeling, I knew if I trusted in God and His promises, I would be brought through the valley of the shadow of death, once again.
I looked back to the first episode that I had, in 1997, which seemed comparably worse and lasted twice as long. About four weeks, it was, but slowly started to subside about two weeks into it. My recent battle, though more concentrated, was past me in half of the time that it took to return to my “normal” state of being, compared to the first episode. The previous experience had strengthened me, which gave me some insight and confidence to interpret and deal with the more recent affliction. I am grateful for that. In fact, I now understand with more clarity how all things work together for good, for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. His word declares it. I believe that I reach a higher level of spirituality and a closer relationship with God, with every difficult scenario that He helps me to endure.
Abba assures us, through the apostle Paul, that we can endure a great deal of persecution through Christ, who strengthens us. It is through suffering and remaining obedient to God, with the belief in our Savior Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice and following His example, that we can have joy in the midst of tribulation. Jesus tells us to knock and the door shall be opened. In another verse he tells us that He stands at the door and knocks. If one hears His voice and opens the door, He will come in and eat with that person and that person with Him. He transcends the suffering of our flesh, as a bright, illuminating, light and parks Himself right in the middle of our innermost darkest moments. It drives away the anxiety of an unsettling night. The most comforting truth is knowing His light is there to stay, once you've open the door and let it shine in.
I think of it in an analogical sense, like a camera. When the user chooses to click the button, the shutter opens, which allows light to enter through the lens and it burns an everlasting image on the film, that is contained within.
The camera is "our body," the user is the "sinner," choosing to take the photograph is "hearing Him knocking and His voice," also, the shutter is the "door opening." The light enters in is "Jesus." We will dine with Him at The Wedding Banquet of believers, in heaven. The lens is "our mind’s eye" the burned image is "His word and His laws" and the film is "our heart," where it is eternally written upon.
My friends, If you don't know His voice and you haven't heard Him knocking at the door, if you haven't opened the door and invited Him in, nor sought Him out, if you want to know that He is real and is whom He claims to be, then I earnestly urge you to answer the door, right now. If your heart is sincere in your quest to know Him, He will make Himself known to you personally. You will have the most perfect relationship with Jesus, as one of love, compassion and comforting companionship, that you will ever know. This is a promise from the sovereign God/man, Himself. You will never be alone, nor fear man, nor death, again. He will give you peace, for He is the Prince of Peace. Please, don't change with the world, but be changed by the Word.
If not one other, let Jesus know you! Amen.
PS: The following link connects to an excellent article that I happened to come across today, after writing this essay. It accurately describes the concerns that I've been progressively concerned about, for almost all of the past two decades. It explains exactly what I've been trying to articulate in some of my blog posts.
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