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September Newsletter-Rebellion

Posted on by Laura Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WBVN has always expressed its purpose as a ministry of encouragement. For us, encouragement is a given characteristic of Faith. We can actually be in the middle of trouble, perhaps in very discouraging things, but not be moved off of how encouraging the Gospel is regardless of those things. What we’re seeing around the world today, as negative as it is, also significantly hints at the truth of prophecy. Jesus Christ is still the answer, the Light of the world, the Good Shepherd, the Bread of Life, the Savior, the Lord, the Comforter, Messiah Deliverer, and much more in spite of the things we hear and see each day. By simply believing, we don’t make Him any of those things; they are facts, that’s exactly Who He is. It’s encouraging to know that. Apparently, some of the future is going to be ugly, but then eventually glorious. While the ugly may get to our brains, we should not let it get to our hearts. No one knows the exact timeline of God’s moves, but this moment seems like a crossroads moment of whether the Gospel message will even continue.

I don’t believe you can find God’s Peace if you can’t find the cause of all this trouble. Forty years ago I remember a biblical teacher expressing days similar to these in our future. He characterized them as a time of ‘separation for clarification.’ We are by all accounts being forced, by the cultures we live in, to choose sides about so many events. Today, much of what we’re confronted with daily is simply man establishing his/her own morality and ethic. In doing so, they’re pushing out the Creator’s morality and ethic. Division causes two things- it creates havoc, and it creates a clear picture of which side of the fence you’re standing on; the separation is a marker to help us make easy choices. It’s our choice whether to be in the Light or stay, even proceed, into darkness. Darkness by default is the absence of The Light. That absence is the only thing that gives darkness its power. Darkness prevails only without the presence of Jesus- The Light.

I like to remember: God is not mocked; what man sows, he will also reap. (Gal. 6:7) In Acts 2, Pentecost was the beginning of God’s warfare into reclaiming all the nations, Gentile and Jew. That continues today. God is consistent and patient. He alone has a ‘cosmic watch’ and knows exactly what time it is. His is a big picture project. God’s purpose for creation from the beginning was simple: relationship with the creature He made in His image. First attempt ended with the failure of Adam and Eve. Second attempt ended with the rescue of Noah and his family. Third attempt Abraham. Next time, the nation of Israel is chosen. Each ended and didn’t produce the family response cherished in the Father’s heart. Finally Jesus came, and he acknowledged ‘It is finished”; he did it! And, he’s the only one that did finish it. By being in Christ we enter into the Father, Son and Spirit’s relationship through Jesus. Now, a new creation is set in place, one that began with the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. In spite of what it looks like today, Jesus has a kingdom and it’s in place. You’re invited to be a citizen. In Isaiah 61:1-11 we find the purpose and the heart of God for Jew and Gentile. (…preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to the bound; …)

Historically: 1Cor 2:7-8, lets us in on a mystery, a secret, something hidden from the foundation of the world. There we learn that, had evil known the whole story, it would not have crucified Jesus. If they had been aware of what was happening, no way would they have killed Jesus. In Scripture what’s revealed is Jesus ‘duped’ them into killing Messiah, he manipulated them. Their murder of Jesus created ‘Savior of the world.’ When Jesus went to Jerusalem he was setting the trap, a trap that actually had the spirit of anti-Christ, purposed to do evil, that miraculously made Salvation possible! That mystery was hidden knowledge not even the 12 disciples knew.

Peter put on a pretty good show of how the disciples felt. He raised Cain when confronted with Jesus’ announcement that he was going to die. The disciples had planned on an earthly rule. They were part of the Old Testament vision of Messiah; the idea that a Jewish savior would throw out Roman rule and abolish all religious corruption. The New Testament vision in the heart of God was different. The OT people understood Messiah- descendent of King David, yet they had no idea Messiah- Savior of the world. The disciples opposed Jesus dying. It was not in their plans for their future king. However in God’s plan, the spirit of anti-Christ would kill Jesus and, in effect, they would create the future kingdom of God for all mankind, all nations. I wouldn’t be shocked that the spirit of anti-Christ is in the middle of creating Jesus’ return right now. Those opposed to Him might not see that, but it looks true; the very folks that hate the thought of a second coming may very well be ushering it in; Jesus again duping anti-Christ into preparing the way for a New Heaven and a New Earth.

Today we’re left scratching our heads, how can so much spirit of anti-Christ be seemingly everywhere and in everything? How can there be so much unity against Life as the father would have it for us. It seems to be that everyday a new and more anti-Christ world emerges. The simple answer is that, as the spirit of anti-Christ becomes bolder, more aggressive, its resistance to ‘Life as the Father would have it for you’ swells. That’s the head scratching part.

Rebellion against the Love of God is so huge and organized we can’t explain it with logic. That spirit of anti-Christ wants us fighting only in our flesh not the spiritual. God encourages us not struggle simply in the physical but also to fight on our knees and by listening and following Him. Paul reminds us we’re not required to confront principalities and powers directly with just our own strength. (Eph 6:12) I have a pastor friend that says, ‘Don’t hear what I’m not saying.’ So I’ll say it like this: that doesn’t mean we don’t do everything we can to share this Gospel and to oppose the destruction of the Gospel message and our culture. We should certainly be active in doing so. I’m not saying don’t resist, just saying have confidence that we have a Helper, a Counselor with us.

In the future, I personally expect a repeat performance similar to what evil did to Jesus’ physical life in his first coming. This time, the end will be trying to destroy Christ’s spiritual life right in front of our eyes. Today, and I think especially today, much of the world is yelling ‘crucify him.’ The One who teaches Peace, crucify Him. The One who said love you neighbor, crucify Him. The One who created them male and female, crucify Him. The One who offers Peace, Hope and Joy, crucify Him. More than any time in my lifetime it appears more people and cultures than ever are opposed to God’s will on earth. His will for man. Today’s rejection of Jesus is similar to the days of Calvary. My confidence is that he personally will win this battle when it’s won. Just as Israel will know (Armageddon) what preserves them in the final battle, I think Christians will recognize the same hand of God exposed at the end of this age.

God created angels but He didn’t create them to be evil. However in Scripture, we can see that some did just that; angels rebelled. I don’t think they were predestined to do so but they chose to oppose God’s Love. Angels, and we, have God-given free will. I think it’s possible for God to know something will happen without causing it to happen. (Isa. 14, 2Peter 2:4-6, Rev. 12: 7-12) Our knowledge of an ‘angelic anti-Christ spiritual coup’ overlays our interpretation of what is happening in our daily lives. Years ago I came to realize we’re the invading army here. Fallen angels had been dumped here and with that, the original earth became void. (Gen. 1:2, Ez. 28-12, Luke 10:18) Then God created man and gave him dominion of Eden, and that resulted in the current conflict and struggle we’re experiencing today. We invaded a hornets’ nest.

As part of that rebellion, (the spirit of anti-Christ stopping Life as the Father would have it for us), Jesus was offered all the worldly kingdoms (Math 4:8), everything as far as the eye could see. That sounds exactly like today’s siren call to mankind. Just do this, get rid of that God guy and trust in our thing and you will have it all. Anti-Christ says you will be moral when you accept our morality and reject that God stuff. Jesus had a secret, a mystery, a hidden plan. Back then, and now, what God wanted was not anything more than family, a relationship with His creation. Look at the descriptions used so frequently in Paul’s writing about God’s purpose, words like sons, children, bride, bridegroom, heirs, and adoption, i.e. family. Revelation 21:4 is where we are headed in our future, what Jesus has prepared for us. (‘…and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.’)

We should not get discouraged or overwhelmed with what we see and hear each day. It didn’t look good at Calvary and it doesn’t look good now. But that’s not the measure of what is going on or what the results will be. The Bible expresses the true results. We can get on board with that or cave to the stress and pressure not to believe. The things we are seeing played out in front of us are bigger than economics or politics. We are observing spiritual warfare. Who wins? I believe the same One that won on a dark, discouraging, bloody day at Calvary. They thought they had Him then, and the anti-Christ spirit thinks it has Him now!

August Newsletter-Mr Rogers

Posted on by Laura Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1-“Try your best to make goodness attractive. That’s one of the toughest assignments you’ll ever be given.” 2-“We speak with more than our mouths. We listen with more than our ears.”, (Implying that we express our thoughts with our lips and we hear with our heart as well as with the flappy things on the side of our heads.) 3- “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” 4-“It’s not so much what we have in this life that matters. It’s what we do with what we have.”

‘Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood’ ran on PBS from 1968 until 2001. If I clustered the words: kids, trolley car, castle, Daniel the striped tiger or king and queen hand puppets you might think of Mr. Rogers. If I describe a man known for opening the door and taking off his suit coat and putting on a cardigan sweater. If I mentioned he pulls off dress shoes, tosses them in the air and catches them with the other hand. If I mentioned then putting on sneakers you might think Mr. Rogers. How ‘bout:

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for a neighbor- Would you be mine? Could you be mine? …- You help to make each day a special day by just your being yourself. There’s nobody else in the whole world who’s exactly like you.

Fred Rogers had a degree in music and in 1962 became an ordained Presbyterian minister. He was one of the most influential people of that time, recognized as a genius of communication with both children and adults. He represented kindness, and kindness was the motivator back then. He once testified before Congress, and one of the influential moments during that testimony was Mr. Rogers quoting one of his songs:

‘What do you do with the mad that you feel when you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong… And nothing you do seems very right?’

Fred Rogers died in 2003 at 74 years old. It has been pointed out over the years that while Sesame Street was created to educate children, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was created to address kids’ psyches, their well-being, and their feelings. Today, it seems we’re a long way from Mr. Rogers’ concerns with kindness, caring, thoughtfulness, or loving. Just take a moment to consider the choices children are asked to make in today’s environment. Fred Rogers stated this years ago: “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero.” I won’t even go into what many of our ‘leaders’ think we should be teaching and doing to children these days; doing much of it in the name of human progress and tolerance. Who would have ever imagined that Christian parents would be talking about having to protect our children the way we have to today. Not just protecting them in the street but having to protect them in the schools, doctor’s office and internet. In trying to protect our children and hold on to core Christian values you can get called some pretty strange names today. I remember a time when you could have an opinion about what schools teach our children and you were not called an ‘anti-government terrorist.’

This is a quote from Francis A. Schaeffer’s book: The Great Evangelical Disaster. “Here we have the world spirit of our age- man setting up himself as God, in defiance of the knowledge and the moral and spiritual truth which God has given…the titanic freedoms we once enjoyed have been cut loose from their Christian restraints and become a force of destruction and chaos…Sixty years ago could we have imagined that unborn children would be killed by the millions here in our own country? Or that we would have no freedom of speech when it comes to speaking of God and biblical truth in our public schools? Or that every form of sexual perversion would be promoted by the entertainment media? Or that marriage, raising children, and family life would be objects of attack?’ That book was written in 1984. Schaeffer alerted us 39 years ago, if we throw out all ‘divine’ constraints there will be chaos, if chaos there will only be arbitrary authoritarian control by the elite with no individual expression allowed. (Paul alerted us in Romans 1:21-32.)

What would Jesus do? Would he sit around children and teach them such things as we are teaching them today? What kind of intellect thinks that the kind of behavior we’re teaching and requiring of children today is the preferred behavior in the next generation? God is our Father and He told us, trained us, instructed us, in the ways that would lead us to the most success, the best way to live and experience more peace.

When the station began, we came, not to demand everyone agree with us, but to offer a choice, a choose Life choice. I’m sorry to say, we’ve seen abortion mainstreamed; the next focus seems to mainstream 7 year olds determining their sexual orientation. Do you hear the word pedophilia used anymore? Soon that word will be a hate speech and illegal to use as a description of behavior. The new culturally approved expression is ‘minor sex.’ It’s sobering to even write these things in this letter. However, normalizing abortion in America has led to over 63 million babies killed. Just imagine mainstreaming what’s coming down the pike right now in our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.

Jesus did not overlook children. Today, He does not overlook our role in giving them the best chance possible to experience both a successful and peaceful life. In Mark 10:14 (and in Mat. 19:14, Luke 18:16) he addressed such: ‘…when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said unto them, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me; forbid them not: for to such belongs the kingdom of God.’ In his environment children are respectful, trusting and eager to be with the Son of God. God created Life; His teaching became a remedy for Life.

(In a kind of ‘type’ parable) As parents we experience creating the gift of life, creating life by birthing our children. And just as The Heavenly Father does, an earthly father and mother have the opportunity to gift the best remedies we can to our children. Do you think that’s what is happening today? The gift of creating life is married to our obligation to give our children encouragement to discover a purposed and blessed life. I believe, as parents, we can’t measure that effort simply by the results we get. We need to measure it from our hearts, judge it more by the effort and truth of the motivation we give to it.

Being made in the image of God, I think we can better understand what motivated our heavenly Father to compassionately send a Savior for His ‘children of God.’ Soon the stuff we’re doing to our children in the name of progress will come home to roost, tragically not just in their lives, but significantly in ours as well. I’ll go back to one of my old expressions: ‘You can’t snow the snowman, he knows everything about snow.’ God knows everything about creating Life and shares that with us. Mighty Counselor is appropriately used as God’s description. Taking the responsibility of providing the best possibilities for our children is super serious to the Creator of His children. Please! much of what’s happening to kids today is not that it’s wonderful for their lives but it’s what we want to create because of many adult’s selfish purposes.

Today, confusion seems to be the benchmark for children’s lives we’ve been entrusted to give a blessed life to. The anti-Christ spirit comes to steal, kill and destroy; Jesus took that seriously, so should we. Jesus expressed it this way: ‘You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stands not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof.’ (John 8:44) Just look back over the past few years and tell me you actually expected life to be just like it is now. Anti-Christ’s whispers to us, hey, it’s just a conspiracy; there is no such thing as evil. What we’re learning more and more each day is evil is real.

In some ways, it’s like we’re living a fable: ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes.’ Written in 1837, that story is about a guy that thought he had on a fine, new set of clothing. Just because he thought that the clothing was real, he acted like they were real. Actually, he was being swindled by a couple of corrupt tailors; he was wearing nothing at all. However, because he believed what he had been told by those fellas, he was parading around his kingdom in his birthday suit. He was ruled by what he was ‘thinking’ rather than ruled by the Truth. He was justifying his behavior by what he wanted to be true rather than what was obviously true. In the fable, the town folk went along with the ruse, and it was only when a small child pointed out the truth did everyone admit their foolishness. What is our culture cheering today? It’s obvious, but we’re cheering it anyway. We need the honesty of a child to tell us the Truth. We’re not going to be able to ‘snow the snowman’ with what we’re doing with our children today. Looking the other way will not be a sufficient excuse.

July Newsletter-Church Future

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Ok, we have this Saul fella. In today’s terms we might call him a troublemaker. A persecutor; doing what he thought was the God of Abraham’s work by persecuting an upstart faith about a teacher/rabbi named Jesus; you know, Joseph and Mary’s boy. Saul, who comfortably watched as Steven was stoned to death. Saul, who after Steven’s death took the lead in hunting Jesus’ followers to put the ‘hurt’ on them, throwing many of those ‘Jesus People’ in prison. Saul, the chief leader of the anti-Way group, was seeking to find and destroy the Jesus movement of that day; a rough, tough dude. Yet, this Saul, who was returning from one of his ‘hunting’ trips, was to discover that very same Christ in his heart. His story always reminds me of the Scripture found in Jeremiah 1:5. It’s a Scripture about God knowing everything about you while you were in your mother’s womb. Actually, the closest meaning to that expression is that God appointed us while in our mother’s womb. Before he was born, God saw who Saul really was. An amazing thing happened on the road to Damascus; Saul refers to the One who interrupts him immediately as ‘Lord’.

That’s in some small way a picture of what our lives are about. The Gospel is, in its simplest form, God attempting to reveal who we really are (in Him). Jesus didn’t come to save us from an angry God, but came to reveal our Father as God that loves us. Inside, God whispers to us who we are intended to be. One of my favorite scriptures is found in the book of Revelation 2:17, ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him that overcomes, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he that receives it.’ You have an identity with God that goes beyond natural birth and flesh. It will be a joyful moment when each believer will be given a stone engraved with the name that only Christ knows them by. He alone knows them that uniquely and intimately. A name associated with their purpose in life even before they were born.

In His effort to reveal the Father to us, the Spirit of Christ places Himself in our hearts. He’s not in outer space somewhere, He tabernacles in you. (Luke 17:21, 2 Cor 4:7) He lives, He is present, and we are inner sanctuaries of the Living Spirit of Christ. That’s different than Old Testament life where the anointing fell upon believers occasionally. The New Life that Jesus provided in the incarnation is now shed abroad in believers’ lives. He never leaves, never separates Himself from us. (Hopefully there’s an ‘Amen’ that’s appropriate right there.)

Look, I get it. We live in a hard, disappointing, frustrating, heartbreaking, and challenging time. I don’t know if this is true in your thinking or not, but it seems to me to be a time when those that know the least about ‘Life as the Father would have it for you’ seem to be making the most noise, disturbing our peace. I sometimes wonder if we’re experiencing Revelation 13:5-9. In those verses Satan is given, through the beast, 42 months to tempt and to blaspheme God, wooing the whole world away from the One True God. The New Testament references a moment characterized as ‘in the days of Noah.’ (Mathew 24/Luke 17) Jesus, now (and just as when he walked the earth), is a Light in a very dark place. He did not come because all of a sudden there was a great enlightenment in Bethlehem when all would celebrate and cheer him. He came in a moment of chaos and tribulation for Messiah. In Revelation 4, the instructions are to ‘come up here,’ step up out of the trouble of the current system and experience a New Life. That’s similar to God’s offer to Noah, only this time Jesus is the ark, an ark created by knowing him for who He really is. In my opinion, Jesus’ re-appearance seems more likely to happen in a time of evolution, but not an evolution of progress by man, but a downward evolution that requires a reappearing to save man from himself.

Historically, Israel was always greatly successful at destroying itself. Their history is a great example of the unique ability to fail; a failure common to all men who choose to be ‘without’ the God of Abraham. (Hosea 13:9) I once read a book, can’t remember which book, but the author made a statement that I’ve never forgotten, ‘refined sinners or vulgar sinners are equally far from God.’ As in the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, head knowledge of him by the Pharisees, Scribes and leaders such as Saul are contrasted by simple heartfelt faith of shepherds who could not rest until they arrived at a simple manger and in the presence of a simple Jewish family. Head knowledge can lead you down the road of self-improvement and that eventually makes us feel guilty for not being unable to make much headway with those improvements. But Jesus came to reveal to us our real, true identity in Christ, what was true about you before you were ever born. In some ways, our journey in Christ is not about a glorious thing that’s out in front of us, that’s never been seen before. It’s more of a journey in Christ back to our original ‘image’ of our creation, our identity in Christ, originally, man being made in the image of God.

Tough times! Not new, not surprising to God. Jesus came for tough times. Actually, we’re not quite to the point that Christians faced in Roman Israel during Jesus’ time with prison and lion games. However, today, we very much need to remember, ‘I was, I am, I am to come.’ That’s our blessed hope. We’re to remember that the gates of Hell will not prevail against Him. (Isa. 51:1) Today, yesterday and tomorrow, our understanding should be held captive by:

‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.’ (Isa 9:6-7)

Even as we see so much that’s challenging our scriptures, we’re not to doubt the Prophet Isaiah’s words simply because of what we see and hear. What God says is more True than what the world’s stage displays to us. There’s a single truth about the world: it is at enmity against God. (Rom. 8:7) We need to be careful to not let the world condition dictate the Spiritual, but rather make the Spiritual dictate the real truths. We must also remember that it was for no simple reason that God called the evil one ‘the father of lies,’ an accuser. He lied to Eve to start this thing and continues to lie and lie even more intently as he sees the day approaching of his destruction. Whose words are we to listen to for Truth: The Father’s/Jesus/Spirit or the world’s interpretation?

In simple terms, Jesus didn’t come to prove deity, he came for deity to embrace you. Today, the Jewish community is still waiting on Messiah. If we doubt his coming, his accomplishments, and his future, doubt in His ‘It Is Finished,’ we join them in that wait. There were over 100 Old Testament prophecies about Messiah and every one of them literally came to pass. Each and every one from birth in Bethlehem, death and crucifixion and his resurrection historically recorded and witnessed. There are over a hundred New Testament prophecies about the believers’ Church and its future. That future is about His presence and His victory: ‘to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.’ This zeal is based on a great passion for the Church.

Today, we will come to the place we trust not to live by sight (2Cor. 5: ); not to live by emotions; not to live by the chatter of people who it seems, know more about the father of lies than the true God of Creation. Life can be tough but it can be Peaceful because of Christ. I like a Rich Mullins quote that goes something like this: ‘it’s not hold on for dear life….rather, it’s more like let go for dear life.’